Drinking bubbly at work? Count us in!
We caught up with the delightful Jane Brown, Sam Houston, and Neil Hedley of Zoomer’s Breakfast Radio to see how their first week of the Hill Street Challenge (to go alcohol-free for 30 days) has been going.
We were curious: were they craving booze? Will they make it through the full 30 days? Will they share their next pitcher of alcohol-free mimosas with us? Here’s what they told us.
Already seeing slight shifts in mindset
All three Happy Gang members noticed changes to their habits as a direct result of the Hill Street Challenge. For Jane it started on the very first day of the challenge. “My husband and I went out for lunch. On the way to the restaurant, I debated whether to order a white or red wine. Then I remembered my promise. I ordered a green tea instead.”
Although Sam is not a big drinker, she found delicious, creative ways to incorporate alcohol-free beverages into her lifestyle. “After my workout, I had a Hill Street Craft Brewed Lager,” which is an effective energy recovery drink. “I also poached pears in the sparkling wine and served them on a bed of arugula, shaved parmesan and red wine vinaigrette.”
Drinking has never been a big part of Neil’s life, as his loved ones were affected by alcohol, yet the Hill Street Challenge’s alcohol-free products “reopened a door for me. I’m realizing, now I can have beer! It’s safe for me enjoy the taste of adult drinks without having to worry about turning out like Uncle so-and-so.”
Planning ahead for good times
Since attending social events is a big part of the Happy Gang’s lifestyle, they’re already planning ahead to how they’ll handle occasions when others may be drinking.
“We’re going up to the cottage and dining at a great restaurant in Napanee,” says Jane. “I’m already planning to call the restaurant to ask if I can bring a bottle of Hill Street’s alcohol-free wine with me.”
For Neil, “Canada Day is the next big event where there will be lots of beer. I’m tempted to share my own supply of Hill Street beer with colleagues who are beer snobs.”
Protecting their physical safety
Countless studies link alcohol to serious medical risks, including cancer, liver disease, stroke and vehicle crashes. We asked how physical safety impacts the Happy Gang and their choices. Jane and her husband already decide ahead of time “whether we’re going to drink, be the designated driver, or take an Uber.” Sam adds, “on both sides of our family, we have relatives who would agree alcohol is a demon for them. So we’re aware of how close alcohol can get to being dangerous.”
“Health trumps everything” – Sam Houston
Alcohol safety is already part of Neil’s legacy. “Early in my career, I won awards for writing don’t-drink-and-drive radio commercials. So I see this Hill Street Challenge as yet another opportunity for me to help other people find an alternative to alcohol. Plus, these Hill Street products are delicious, so I’m happy to get the word out. I also think the police would agree our roads would be much safer if everyone drank alcohol-free drinks all weekend.”
Feeling fine with alcohol-free wine
The Happy Gang noticed some unexpected results almost immediately. “On Monday night, I had the Vin(Zero) Merlot with dinner,” said Jane. “I felt so good on Tuesday morning that I actually texted my husband to tell him, ‘I feel amazing.’”
Then there was that glorious morning when the Happy Gang indulged in mimosas at work – without guilt – by mixing alcohol-free Vin(Zero) Brut Blanc sparkling wine with orange juice. “I think we experienced a placebo effect due to the social nature of drinking together,” said Neil. “We felt a little bit giddy. Not inebriated – just happy.” As Sam puts it, “It was euphoria. So tasty.”
All three hosts all seemed impressed by what they tasted. “Hill Street did a very good job because it seems like a real Champagne. It’s refreshing,” said Jane. According to Sam, “it tastes better than the Champagnes and sparkling wines I’ve had. It’s a little sweeter and delicious.” As Neil admits, “You could have told me it’s Champagne and I wouldn’t have known the difference.”