Staff at a Victoria restaurant are ditching booze for a good cause — supporting cancer research

·2 min read

Staff at a Victoria restaurant are going sober this month to raise money for cancer research — and to promote a healthier lifestyle in a booze-heavy industry.

Alex Snow, bar manager at The Mint, says it's a continuation of Dry January, when some people give up drinking for a month. Snow tried it himself and, along with some other staff, decided to keep the ball rolling for a good cause.

They've raised more than $600 for the Canadian Cancer Society in five days and got creative behind the bar in the process. The bar now has a mocktail menu with drinks made of alt-gin Lumette and craft non-alcoholic beers like Partake.

"It's not just Shirley Temples and stuff, it's actually martinis with nice garnishes," Snow told CBC's All Points West.

"It feels like you're actually drinking a cocktail."

According to a study conducted by the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction, seven out of 10 Canadians reported being at home more during the beginning of the pandemic. Of those people, two out of 10 reported they were drinking more for a variety of reasons, including stress and boredom.

Craig Chivers/CBC
Craig Chivers/CBC

Abstaining can be tough in the restaurant industry, particularly during a tough and unpredictable year for staff, Snow said.

"Working in the industry, it is kind of an occupational hazard to overconsume," he said.

But there have been some big benefits to going sober.

Snow says he feels he has more mental clarity, he's become more inspired to create new non-alcoholic drinks, and staff have come together in support of a healthy lifestyle and a shared goal of raising money for a good cause.

They hope to raise $3,000 this month for cancer research.

Snow says anyone who would like to try ditching alcohol should take it one day at a time. He says non-alcoholic drinks can be so much more fun than just a soda and a lime wedge.

"Don't underestimate how delicious craft, non-alcoholic beer can be," he said.

"Don't feel afraid to ask your local bartenders to come up with something fun."