Today In lockdown I decided to scroll through my ‘writings’ file on my laptop. I found this…This was written on 30 November 2019 and sparked the idea of this account…Only took me 5 months to do my first post in April 2020!
Here are my notes on my first conversation re BYO Alcohol-free
Me – Hi, I’m coming for lunch today and wondered if you stocked non-alcoholic wines?
A – No we don’t, we do mocktails and soft drinks
Me – Oh, OK, would it be OK to bring a bottle? I don’t drink but I really enjoy having wine with my meal
A – We wouldn’t allow it, as we offer a range of non-alcoholic drinks
Me -but not non-alcoholic wine?
A – No We would allow you to bring in a rare bottle of wine, one we don’t stock…
Me – Right, but you don’t stock non-alcoholic wine so can I bring mine?
A – No, because we offer non-alcoholic drinks
Me – Yes, but you also offer rare wines…but I can bring one those, if it’s got alcohol in it?
A – Yes
Me – Hmm, wondering if there is there any solution here? I’m an alcoholic you see, and I don’t like mocktails, and it’s a celebration and I’d like to have some wine, with my friends who do drink.
A – I’m sorry, we can’t allow BYO
Me – Are you the manager
A – yes,
Me – So there nothing you can do? To help me out? I’m happy to pay corkage…
A- Well, I suppose we could have, with more warning. I could have arranged to get some…
Me – Ah, ok….that would be amazing! Is that at all possible now? I arrive in 3 hours.
A - Well, I could try… let me see if I can organise someone to get some…I’ll call you back.
Ok, so now we’re getting somewhere. Needless to say, I’d rather not have to admit my ‘problem’ to this rather abrupt stranger, but I’m with friends who love this restaurant and why should my ‘problem’ ruin their day? And yes, I could go and drink sparkling water or some mock mojito but I love the taste of wine with food, and I want to feel included…..so I wait.
‘A’ called back within a few minutes and agreed he would send a staff member to the bottle shop. Great I say, anything except Blue Nun White :)
A few minutes later I realise A has left a message. He is apologetic, helpful, checking in to make sure he gets something I will like. What has inspired this change of heart? I guess I’ll never know. But on arrival a bottle of sparkling AF ( @edenvale) was presented in an ice bucket alongside the Verve…and I had my first really amazing afternoon at a restaurant since I quit drinking.
Imagine, I think, a world where we could just be honest, without shame or fear of our humanity, our flaws and weaknesses - because we all have them, in some shape or form. Imagine if serving quality, interesting non-alcoholic drinks was the norm – if wine makers worked to develop beautiful wines that didn’t alter our psyche? There is a market for this.
The Sober Sommelier? There’s an idea.
I loved finding this piece - it reminded me just how far we’ve come in a short time….and, despite my ongoing anxiety about every post, it makes me happy that I decided to take action and contribute to this conversation with you all. Because imagining is just the beginning.
I'd also like to add that I know I am certainly not the first person to come up with this idea of Alcohol-free wines/drinks. Many AF drinks existed back then...it's just that I hadn't found them. I had a whole new world to discover, and how happy I am that I did!
You can buy quality AF options at SansDrinks - just click below to take a look.