NEW YORK – The reality of the beverage industry is preparing today for the trends of tomorrow. Now, with millennials becoming forced to face their own mortality, a new leader in the adult beverage industry has emerged: “Healthful” imbibements, touting benefits including fruit juice fusions, lower alcohol contents and absolutely no gluten, anywhere.
One such beverage, “Kombrewcha,” is a version of the popular tea that’s fermented longer to give it an ABV of 2% and 65 calories. According to its creators, “Kombrewcha” was a happy accident, inspired when Lindsay Lohan blamed Kombucha for setting off her alcohol monitor bracelet.
The drink, available both in bottles and on tap in select bars, retails for $15 for four 12 oz bottles, or $0.31 per ounce. Despite costing nearly 5x the price of traditional, more efficient light beers, early adopters are already singing the hybrid beverage’s praises.
“To be honest, I’m not even sure what kombucha is, I think it’s like a Russian medicinal tea, or something,” slurred Jessyka, a Hoboken resident but self-proclaimed “New Yorker by heart, bitches [hiccup].”
She cites the low alcohol content and lack of gluten as the beverage’s main draws.
“No, like, guys fucking LOVE when a girl can drink as much as them, and Kombrewcha lets me do that,” she said. “There a lots of things in life you want to be really drunk for, like meeting your boyfriend’s parents or a driver’s license exam. But for other times, Kombrewcha keeps me in check.”
For Jessyka, the drink’s gluten-free properties can’t be overstated. “As far as I’m concerned, celiac disease is, like, the next AIDS epidemic. Look it up.” When challenged on that, Jessyka directed reporters to “Read a fucking book and get [hiccup] educated.”
Other health-conscious options involve mixing beer with fruit juices, in an effort to fight wine’s dominance within the female demographic. Heineken’s Amstel Radler, a 40/60 blend of beer and lemon juice, is the company’s fastest growing product globally. It too boasts an ABV of 2%, yet its 145 calories put it on par with traditional lager beers.
“It’s perfect for fat girls who want to look like they’re trying, but secretly enjoy being fat,” remarked one Amstel brewmaster with a wry grin.
Not everyone’s on board with the healthful beverage revolution. Reporters found an elderly man named Truxton, a deposed securities trader, chipping away at his trust fund in a watering hole in Little Brazil one afternoon. He was 34, but much older than other men his age, his looks ravaged by a life that mostly took place before Instagram filters. He was playing “snake” on his Motorola Krazr and glumly sipping a Radler.
“This is all there is now. These young guys will come off the trading floor at 4:30 and start sucking back Radlers, pounding Kombrewcha bombs. It’s like Sodom and Gomorrah in here, kids ripping off their shirts and screaming along to late-2000s top 40 music. I’m like, ‘Jesus Christ, you’re still sober enough to legally drive.’ I used to be drunker than that during the day when I worked at Lehman Brothers in 2006,” he lamented.
Despite the seemingly feminine leanings of the new beverages, other men find them to be a Godsend.
“This rattler shit is the best fucking thing that ever happened to me,” said Brendan, a junior at NYU, between swigs. “Any time some slut wakes up on my couch and accuses me of raping her, I dig one of her empties out of the trash and point to the ‘2%’ on the label. Boom bitch, faced. No way she was drunk enough for that.”
No one knows for sure where the future will lead the gluten-free, low-alcohol beverage industry, but some manufacturers are already placing their bets.
“We’re working on a product called ‘Skinnygirl Water,’” said a spokesperson for Bethenny Frankel’s Skinnygirl Cocktails. “Our proprietary process results in a product that’s completely gluten-free and has an ABV of 0%.”