Booze Alternative: John Crabbie & Co Ginger Beer

This was another drink that I found in the non-alcoholic section at Sainsbury’s.

John Crabbie & Co Ginger Beer
John Crabbie & Co Ginger Beer.

Not to be confused with the ginger beer made by Crabbie’s (which is alcoholic, as Crabbie’s only make alcoholic drinks) – John Crabbie & Co is an entirely different company!

This ginger beer isn’t as super sweet as I usually like, but the spice level is just right (it makes me sneeze rather than cough!). I’d definitely have this one again.

Life without alcohol update: three months sober

It’s taken a while, but life without alcohol is gradually starting to feel like it could, sometime soon, be the new normal. During the first couple of months of sobriety I felt absolutely manic – I would swing between being absolutely delighted about the benefits I was already noticing and utterly devastated at the thought that I could never drink again, sometimes within the space of about thirty seconds or so. Things have slowly calmed down over the last few weeks, and I’m beginning to feel a bit more serene on good days and at least stable on not-so-good ones.


It’s still not easy, and I don’t think it ever will be. I’ve not gone a day without thinking about a drink yet. But I’m getting better at being in situations where I would have drunk in the past – the brief moment at bars when my mind goes straight to cider is getting shorter and less upsetting, and thinking of myself as an ex-drinker and saying to people ‘I don’t drink anymore’ is feeling less alien now. I’m starting to be okay with my glass of ginger beer, even when everyone else is having something alcoholic.

When I was drinking, I relied utterly on alcohol to deal with what felt like impossible situations due to my social anxiety. Three months into sobriety, this is still the most strange and confusing thing for me. The excess nervous energy I’ve had since I stopped drinking has resulted in an attitude of ‘must do absolutely everything I’ve been procrastinating about for my entire adult life IN THE SPACE OF FOUR MONTHS’, and so my life at the moment is non-stop with work, writing, pitching, playing music, marathon training, driving practice, and getting all those niggly annoying jobs done that have been put off for years and years. It’s great to feel like I’m actually achieving things – I would have been thrilled at Christmas if I’d known how much I would actually get done in the first quarter of 2019 – but it does mean I’m pretty much constantly out of my comfort zone, often in a social-anxiety-related way. I am hoping that this will calm down as the year goes on.

Booze alternatives I’ve reviewed over the last month:

My ginger beer obsession continues unabated, as you can probably tell!

I’m still listening to my podcasts and making use of online and offline support resources. I’ve also been reading a few helpful books on my Kindle, though I don’t have as much time as I would like for reading at the moment.

It feels for the first time like sobriety really could be something that’s manageable over the long term. I’m hopeful that month four will continue to feel relatively calm and stable.

Booze Alternative: Franklin & Sons Ginger Beer

Franklin & Sons is a soft drink brand that I hadn’t encountered until my trip to Inverness a few weeks ago. Geth and I found it in every bar and restaurant we went into while we were there, and have not seen it again since. It’s apparently a London brand, so I’ve no idea why I’ve only come across it in the far north of Scotland.

Anyway, I (obviously) tried every flavour, so you’ll be seeing a lot of their drinks in the next wee while.

Franklin & Sons Ginger Beer
Franklin & Sons Ginger Beer.

First up was the ginger beer, because my newfound love for ginger beer meant that this was obviously the one I tried first. It’s got the perfect level of spice! It’s quite sweet too. A really good ginger beer – I just hope I’ll find it closer to home sometime soon.

Booze Alternative: Schweppes Ginger Beer

Who knew there were so many ginger beers in the world? I didn’t. This is another one I discovered when Mum and Dad were in town last month.

Schweppes Ginger Beer
Schweppes Ginger Beer.

This one tastes kind of retro. I can’t really explain it. It just sort of…reminds me of something that I maybe drank a very long time ago, when I was very young. I think I need a few more of these to try and work it out.

Booze Alternative: Fever Tree Ginger Beer

About a week after trying the Fever Tree ginger ale, I found their ginger beer in the Holiday Inn bar in central Newcastle.

Fever Tree Ginger Beer
Fever Tree Ginger Beer.

This one’s much tastier than the ale, with a nice sweet ‘n’ sour tang. There’s a lot of spice in its bubbles, which means I can’t put my head near it without coughing when it’s freshly poured, but after a few minutes I can drink it without a problem. It just needs to ‘sit’ for a while!

Booze Alternative: Pret A Manger Ginger Beer

It’s yet another ginger beer! We first found these in the Pret A Manger at Leeds train station, and Geth has been bringing them back for me from town ever since.

Pret A Manger Ginger Beer
Pret A Manger Ginger Beer.

This one is gorgeously sweet – probably the sweetest of the ginger beers I’ve tried so far. It does make me cough a bit with its spiciness, but it’s a lovely taste overall.

Booze Alternative: Belvoir Ginger Beer

Ginger ales and beers are going to be a bit of a theme for this series. I really like the taste, and am trying every single one I see in bars and shops, and there’s a lot of them.

In general, I’m finding that the beers taste stronger than the ales. Belvoir Ginger Beer is no exception.

Belvoir Ginger Beer
Belvoir Ginger Beer. I did drink it all before remembering to take a photo, which is probably a good sign!

This one is similar to Fentimans Ginger Beer in that it’s very tasty, but the spiciness makes me cough and so I can’t drink it too quickly. It’s lovely and sweet though!