Big congratulations are in order: The Hill Street Challenge to go alcohol-free for a month has come to a triumphant end, led by the delightful hosts of Zoomer Breakfast Radio with Neil, Sam and Jane.
Now that the challenge is over, we wanted to know: how did the Happy Gang socialize this summer without partaking in booze? Here’s what they had to say about their experience.
Managing a month without booze
“It was super easy. There was nothing to it,” Neil states. “Other than the mimosas I drank [containing Vin(Zero) Brut Blanc alcohol-free sparkling wine], I used Hill Street’s products for cooking. This challenge opened a door for me because I felt inspired to get back to cooking again for the first time in ages.”
He wasn’t the only culinary connoisseur to emerge from the Hill Street Challenge. Jane added the Vin(Zero) Chardonnay to the marinade for a roasted chicken and Sam Houston generously shared her recipe for poached pears.
“Removing alcohol completely really does make a difference”
~ Sam Houston
As Jane shares, “I really like the products and I’ll keep drinking them after this challenge. My favourite part is that a glass of wine is only 27 calories, so I’ll have a glass after the gym.” For Jane’s active lifestyle, alcohol-free wines – including Vin(Zero) Chardonnay, Vin(Zero) Merlot and Vin(Zero) Brut Blanc – quenched her thirst after a workout. Looking ahead, she says, “these wines could definitely be part of my life from Monday to Thursday because it’s better than a sports drink and it tastes better than water.”
Sam says, “I loved my month-long alcohol-free experience and discovered that even when you don’t drink a lot to begin with, removing alcohol completely really does make a difference.” She adds, “I loved doing the challenge with Neil and Jane because I learned through their experiences how the challenge also benefitted them.”
Success starts with mindset
At the beginning of the Hill Street Challenge, the Happy Gang wondered whether they could stay away from alcohol during sunny patio season, exciting Blue Jays games, and scorching summer long weekends.
“Since I do like to have some beverages on the weekend, I did think it could be a challenge to go alcohol-free for a full month,” Jane shares. Nevertheless, she persisted. “It was a matter of changing my thinking. It was a good experiment to see if I could do it.”
“It was a matter of changing my thinking.”
~ Jane Brown
As Neil states, “Jane nailed it: it was never a challenge about surviving without alcohol. It was about challenging your perception and your thinking, and really looking at the role of alcohol in your life.” He adds the Hill Street Challenge is “also about thinking outside the box,” like using alcohol-free beer and wine to add flavour to recipes. “Cooking is all about the flavour; it has nothing to do with the alcohol in these beverages.”
When we ask if the Happy Gang ever felt tempted to “cheat” by drinking alcohol, Neil promptly quips, “Jane was most tempted to cheat during the show!” Despite the jokes, Jane agrees, “Yes, I felt tempted to cheat at certain moments, so I drank the Hill Street products and some diet pop instead.”
Meaningful insights and results
As a result of the Hill Street Challenge, Sam says, “My level of alertness is different, and my awareness of the health benefits has improved and increased. The challenge has been a great ‘discovery’ for me because I have found a super healthy alternative to a glass of wine or beer without having to compromise on taste.”
Meanwhile, Jane made a notable discovery. “When socializing, I found that not drinking alcohol means I’m not as tempted to overeat. The Hill Street Challenge was a great reminder that alcohol enhances our desire to eat too much.” Recent research supports this claim, as a study found we overeat when we drink alcohol because our brain is convinced we’re starving.
“Nobody has pizza and milk … alcohol-free beer is a viable alternative.”
~ Neil Hedley
Throughout the Hill Street Challenge, the Happy Gang noted considerable public interest. Jane says, “I had Hill Street’s alcohol-free wines around when people came over, plus I left half a bottle of a wine with a girlfriend. She drank it after she went for a run and said it was a really good alternative to water because it’s refreshing and not too sweet. That’s the power of suggestion. Also, people are really curious about what alcohol-free wine and beer taste like.”
Neil wisely points out that alcohol consumption often comes down to habit. “Let’s face it: nobody has pizza and milk (or chicken wings and orange juice). If people love the taste of beer but they want to reduce their alcohol consumption, drinking Hill Street’s alcohol-free beer is a viable alternative. This is your chance to still enjoy it.”
Cheers to alcohol-free living
As for this week’s featured beverage, Designated Draft alcohol-free beer, Jane says, “It’s yummy.
It tastes remarkably good. Other alcohol-free beers I tried before Hill Street were awful.” In reference to popular Hill Street products, Sam declares, “My faves? Vin(Zero) Brut Blanc and the Hill Street Craft Brewed Lager for sure! Challenge or no challenge, my fridge is stocked!”
For reasons ranging from health and wellness to road safety, clean living, responsible parenting, and culinary creativity, the Happy Gang have shared how alcohol-free beer and wine fit into lifestyles and align with their values. After their enthusiastic efforts over the past month, they certainly deserve to celebrate!
Although the Hill Street Challenge is done, now it’s time for you to share your own experience with going alcohol-free. (Or even reasons you’re considering it.) Send your stories and photos to us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to get featured in our upcoming newsletters.