10 Alcohol-Free, Black-Owned Beverage Brands To Shop Right Now

When I quit drinking alcohol, I didn’t think about experimenting with alcohol-free drinks. I focused more on my physical and mental health, and regaining the confidence to socialize without inebriation. 

Now, I understand how beneficial it is to consume healthy, tasty drinks throughout sobriety. I’m conscious of the packaging, ingredients, brand ethos, what the flavor does to my senses, and the aftertaste. It’s a visceral experience that never occurred to me while misusing alcohol. Quick consumption was the goal back then – feeling good is the goal today.

As the weather gets colder and holiday season approaches, many no-alcohol options provide great benefits. Some can support your immunity, and can make great gifts. If you’re alcohol-free or looking for alcohol alternatives, stock up on these Black-owned beverage brands for year-round comfort. I spoke with the owners of Calabash Tea & Tonic, Candid Tea, and Replenish Kombucha to learn more about the collective impact they’re working toward.

Brooklyn Tea

Brooklyn Tea, located in Brooklyn, New York is a calm, inviting nook offering loose leaf tea blends. Owners Jamila McGill and Alphonso “Ali” Wright have received an outpouring of support and press this year, including a shoutout by Shonda Rhimes on Twitter and a feature in Beyonce’s directory of Black-owned businesses. 

Despite a surge in online orders, their commitment to community is still key to the work. They provide compost to a local community garden through Tahuti Ma’at, and recently launched their first Brooklyn Tea Scholarship and Community Leadership Award. The first scholarship assisted their employee, Euralis, with her college tuition. The inaugural award ceremony honored Little Sun People, a Brooklyn-based, culturally-responsive pre-school. Shop Brooklyn Tea | Follow @brooklyntea on Instagram

 

Calabash Tea & Tonic

Dr. Sunyatta Amen, owner of Calabash Tea & Tonic, is a fifth-generation master herbalist and naturopathic doctor. Based in Washington DC, she describes her tea shop as a “people’s pharmacy” that connects modern communities back to natural medicine. “When you’re out of touch with nature, you’re depleted. And that’s what causes anxiety, depression, and feelings of hopelessness,” Dr. Amen said. 

 

A sociable alternative to the bar, Dr. Amen believes not serving alcohol has helped foster a strong, communal environment. “Being a part of community, to me, is the new sexy,” Dr. Amen said. And she walks the walk – Calabash Tea & Tonic has been rated Yelp’s most loved DC restaurant for 15 consecutive years. Shop Calabash Tea & Tonic | Follow @calabashtea on Instagram

 

BLK & Bold

Founded by Pernell Cezar and Rod Johnson, BLK & Bold is an online-only specialty coffee company that centers social impact and conscious consumerism. They donate 5% of profits to organizations that support marginalized youth, prioritizing urban farming and food justice programs, as well as education and wellness projects. BLK & Bold is sold at Target and Whole Foods, and is Amazon’s best selling coffee brand. Shop BLK & Bold | Follow @blkandbold on Instagram    

 

Chicago French Press

Based in Chicago, Illinois, Chicago French Press was founded by Kris Christian, a former Wall Street analyst and lifelong coffee enthusiast. Christian wanted to cut back on the added sugar, eventually blending fruits and nuts to create a naturally sweet cup of coffee. 

Chicago French Press donates 5% of proceeds to local organizations like The Take Back, which provides Chicago’s South Side youth with school supplies, meals, and scholarships. Shop Chicago French Press | Follow @chicagofrenchpress on Instagram

 

Candid Tea

Founded by Courtney Alexandria, Candid Tea started as a lifestyle blog and grew into a product-based, service-driven business. Though a lifelong tea-drinker, Alexandria didn’t know much about the wellness benefits found in tea until she eagerly researched. As Alexandria learned, her palette grew, and her passion for tea amplified. “Tea is so much more than liquid in a cup,” Alexandria said. “It’s accessible to anyone.” 

She wants woman-identified folks to see themselves in each tea blend, so all products, like “The Game Changer,” are created with a meaningful intention. Alexandria also donates 10% of monthly profits to a non-profit or charitable organization. She selects local and national efforts that support, empower, and enable women to collaborate in community. Shop Candid Tea | Follow @candidtea on Instagram

 

Me & the Bees

Founded by Mikaila Ulmer at age four, Me & the Bees is a lemonade company dedicated to bee advocacy, youth engagement, and social entrepreneurship. Produced with ingredients like flaxseed and honey from bees, Ulmer, now fifteen, operates the business from Austin, Texas with her parents, D’Andra and Theo Ulmer. Me & the Bees promotes bee conservation through the Healthy Hive Foundation, and Ulmer’s memoir, Bee Fearless, was released in August 2020. Shop Me & the Bees | Follow @mikailasbees on Instagram

 

Replenish Kombucha

Angel Jackson, owner of Replenish Kombucha, is always thinking about alternatives to Western medicine. She started making kombucha for her family as a bubbly alternative to sweet teas and sodas – two staple drinks in Memphis, Tennessee, tastily known as the “barbecue belt.” 

Replenish Kombucha, a family-run operation, is the only kombucha brewery in Memphis. “We’ve been warmly welcomed,” Jackson said. “Reaching out to community and letting them know who we are is still one of the most important pieces to our business.”

Through Replenish Kombucha, Jackson wants consumers to feel happy, fun, and active. “Your gut is the seed of your emotions,” she said. The gut-happy probiotics found in kombucha can certainly lead the way. Shop Replenish Kombucha | Follow @replenishkombucha on Instagram

 

Boss Blend Coffee

Driven by a desire to connect Black people with high-quality coffee, Kalisha “Fly” Carmichael founded Boss Blend Coffee. She’s been featured in the Museum of Food and Drink’s Black-owned business directory, and launched a GoFundMe campaign to crowdfund for operating expenses and team expansion. Shop Boss Blend Coffee | Follow @bossblendcoffeeco on Instagram | Support the GoFundMe campaign

 

Tea Please

With dessert-flavored teas, iced teas, and wellbeing blends, Tea Please founder Jasmine Oliver provides something sweet, chilled, and soothing. Serve yourself “Vanilla Horchata” for a daytime pick-me-up, or “Sweet Dreams” for a nighttime reset. Shop Tea Please | Follow @teaplease on Instagram

Muniq

Through Muniq, founder Marc Washington aims to preserve the legacy of his sister, Monica. She was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and passed away due to complications during childbirth. By centering gut health, the shake company urges us to understand the role that gut health plays in managing our overall wellbeing, from blood sugar levels to digestion and immunity. Shop Muniq | Follow @muniqlife on Instagram

No matter your flavor, going alcohol-free doesn’t mean your options will be limited. Actually, it can help you consume – and take care of yourself – in a brand new way. Supporting mission-driven, Black-owned business is the cherry on top.  

Disclaimer: Our articles and resources do not constitute clinical or licensed therapy or other health care services. If you need counseling or therapy services please contact a licensed provider. If this is a medical emergency, call 911.

How To Set Boundaries While Living With People Who Drink

We respond to the conditions of our home environment. If it’s cozy and clean, we wake up feeling less stressed. If it’s out of order, we’re more likely to feel imbalanced and disconnected.

During recovery, living with roommates or loved ones who drink at home may cause you to isolate or feel out of control. That’s what slowly happened to me. In this situation, after the overwhelm became too great, I decided to address these concerns with my roommates.

I experienced a rush of anxiety before and during this conversation. In retrospect, a long talk with myself would have helped me initiate this discussion with a greater sense of ease and confidence.

Navigating sobriety or moderation is a great time to embrace what might feel uncomfortable. Whether the scenario has already created instability, or if you’re confronting the issue early-on, I created the following exercises to help clear your head, establish your needs, and have a firmer conversation than the one that I experienced. Here’s how you can set boundaries with yourself and with others in order to stay healthy and alcohol-free in the long-term.

 

Create your personal boundaries

When facing a potentially difficult conversation, your mind may start to focus on what could go wrong, or what words could be misunderstood. Suddenly, the problem feels larger, and the anxiety settles in — all before the conversation even takes place.

Before discussing any adjustments you’d like to see at home, it’s important to clarify your needs to yourself. This will help guide the conversation, and you’ll have a clearer sense of what compromises may or may not work for you.

Navigating relationship challenges while managing your drinking

Join an honest discussion about cultivating healthy relationships through sobriety or moderation.
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Jennifer Chesak, a Healthline writer, explains, “The word ‘boundary’ can be a bit misleading. It conveys the idea of keeping yourself separate. But boundaries are actually connecting points since they provide healthy rules for navigating relationships, intimate or professional.”

Here’s a list of fill-in statements to help you visualize your ideal home environment. The goal of this exercise is to encourage a solution-oriented approach to advocating for yourself, and set yourself up to clearly communicate your needs.

  1. I would feel _________ if there was less alcohol in our home.
  2. When I see alcohol at home, I feel like _________.
  3. When there’s less or no alcohol at home, I feel _________.
  4. I need more _________ in order to feel supported and comfortable in our home.
  5. What if we created a system where _________ if alcohol is entering the space?
  6. When alcohol is in our space, I’d like it if _________.
  7. I need _________ days/hours/minutes to self-regulate before alcohol enters the home.
  8. When feeling triggered to drink, I need _________ days/hours/minutes to regain control.
  9. When feeling triggered by alcohol, I positively/negatively respond by _________.
  10. I value a home that feels more _________ and less _________.

Communicate those boundaries

Now it’s time to have the conversation. When you practice having difficult conversations ahead of time, you can help reduce anxiety in the moment. With repetition, you’ll memorize what needs to be said before walking away.

When practicing, it’s often effective to come up with questions you can ask in real-time. If you need some assistance, I’ve included 10 samples for you below. Edit for context and to suit your voice!

  1. Have you ever lived with someone who doesn’t drink ?
  2. If you have, what systems, if any, were created to make sure everyone felt comfortable?
  3. If not, have you had any personal relationships with someone who doesn’t drink ?
  4. After hearing me out — and thanks for listening — what’s a compromise that might work well for everyone right now?
  5. When alcohol will be brought home, what system can we create to communicate that in advance?
  6. Going forward, how often do you think alcohol might be brought home?
  7. In general, what influences you to want alcohol in the home?
  8. How might everyone be affected by having less or no alcohol at home?
  9. Would you like to know anything specific about how alcohol affects me?
  10. How do you feel about communicating more often about alcohol use in the home?

With a little practice, you will approach this conversation with less tension, which means you’re more likely to reach the desired result without conflict. 

Disclaimer: Our articles and resources do not constitute clinical or licensed therapy or other health care services. If you need counseling or therapy services please contact a licensed provider. If this is a medical emergency, call 911.

How I Developed A Nighttime Routine While Isolated And Alcohol-Free

When I stopped drinking, I had strange, repetitive dreams — like planes crashing around me and not breaking — and I woke up frequently in the middle of the night.

Like many folks in early recovery, I struggled with depression. I stayed up late and craved alcohol when I should’ve been sleeping. I felt exhausted and outside of work, I spent most of my time alone, hanging onto what energy I did have like a sponge.

COVID-19 isolation was the incentive I needed to take my sleep habits more seriously. Creating a nighttime routine has improved my energy, and I feel more empowered to take better care of myself. It’s not perfect, but it’s one I can stick to.

So, here’s a bit of guidance for sleeping better during recovery. And, to help organize your bedtime ritual, try my guide at the end of this article. Let’s create a more sustainable nighttime routine starting tonight!

Why good sleep matters in early recovery

Your previous night’s sleep can change the entire course of your day, and if mistreated long enough, nature will slow your body down for you. Mark Wu, M.D, Ph.D, a sleep disorder specialist and neurology professor at Johns Hopkins, explains, “Your body can’t force you to eat when you’re hungry, but when you’re tired, it can put you to sleep, even if you’re in a meeting or behind the wheel of a car.”

Sleep is a lot like water: the body needs it to function, and works better when we have enough. In early recovery, though, it’s common to experience disruptive sleep patterns. Our worries tend to magnify when alcohol cannot distract us, especially if we’re used to drinking before bed.

But when you find what works, good sleep improves both decision-making skills and detail orientation. It also increases your focus and calms your stress.

Adjust your beliefs about rest

During recovery, it’s common to exchange one unhealthy habit for another. Personally, as a longtime night owl, I’m slowly breaking the curse of being illuminated in the dark by my laptop.

In order to adjust any of my unhealthy nighttime habits, I had to reframe what I believed about rest. For example, rest can look like any of the following, and always leads to a good night’s sleep for me:

1. Calling someone I trust

I love phone calls. If it’s getting late and I need an ear, I know who I can talk to for support. These are folks I’m closest to, and after years of friendship, they know how to ease what stress I’m spewing over the phone. I always feel relieved and ready for bed.

2. Listening to meditative singing bowls

I found this Tibetan singing bowl video years ago, and it’s a fail-proof resource when I really can’t sleep. It’s nine hours long, so it can accompany you through a full night’s rest, or if you’re working from home and want a soothing space during the day.

3. Adjusting my room temperature

Keeping a level head goes out the window when my body is too hot. A hot room interrupts your sleep stages and your body’s natural cooling process. On the other end of the spectrum, a room that’s too cold isn’t great either. Oftentimes, too cold of a room simply makes it difficult to get to bed. So, finding what a balanced temperature looks for you is key. For me, the moment I cool down my bedroom a bit, I go from stressed to calm in a matter of minutes.

Make your nighttime routine stick

When I try something new, I like to think about what I’ll gain if I commit, fully. The same applies when creating a nighttime routine. I think about how much better I’ll feel if I get to bed just 15 minutes sooner than the night before.

When adjusting to new habits, it’s good to experiment, start simple, and settle on what feels right. If you’re looking for a little structure, see if my guide helps!

Set an alarm for 15 minutes. Answer the following five questions, and then reflect on healthy activities you can manage before bedtime. A few of my favorite activities are below.

August Sleep Questions

  1. How many hours of sleep do I get right now?
  2. What overall factors prevent me from getting better sleep?
  3. What would I like to do more often before bed?
  4. How would I like to feel before bed?
  5. How would I like to feel when I wake up?

Soothing Activities I Enjoy

  1. Prayer or meditation
  2. Playing my keyboard badly!
  3. Watching anime

Set another alarm for 15 minutes. List your sleep goals for the next month and create a plan for how you can achieve them. Check out my list for August:

August Sleep Goals

  1. Work toward long-term 10:30pm bedtime goal
  2. Detach from technology after 10:30pm
  3. Start journaling about my relationship to rest

August Sleep Challenge

  1. Fall asleep by 11:00pm from 8/4 to 8/7. (My current bedtime is 11:30pm.)
  2. During the same week, put my phone and computer in the closet by 10:30pm
  3. Journal about rest for 5 minutes everyday during the challenge

Record your experiences — any changes in mood, restfulness, or adverse effects — throughout August. You can keep a note on your phone or in a notebook and title it “My Nighttime Routine: August.” If daily upkeep sounds overwhelming, remember that one sentence counts, and one day, you’ll be looking back at your steady commitment to making long-term progress.

If my guide helps you regain control over your sleep regimen, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. With a structured plan, my hope is that your outlook for tomorrow looks clearer, calmer, and a lot more rested.

Disclaimer: Our articles and resources do not constitute clinical or licensed therapy or other health care services. If you need counseling or therapy services please contact a licensed provider. If this is a medical emergency, call 911.