PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — In 2023 especially, more Americans have started — or at least attempted — to drink less alcohol than they have in the past. Several establishments have noticed this consumer trend and followed suit by offering more alcohol-free options to customers even outside of Sober October and Dry January.
Portland-based bars and businesses like Sousòl and Pink Cloud have helped push the mocktail movement along with their non-alcoholic drinks — and a Portland-made app helps connect sober and sober-curious people to it all.
Olivia and Sarah Sears launched the BuzzCutt app this summer to direct people to grocery stores, restaurants and venues that offer zero-proof beverages nationwide.
KOIN 6 first spoke with the couple in January, before BuzzCutt went live. Multiple businesses with extensive mocktail menus have opened their doors in the time since.
CEO Olivia says she’s noticed the ever-growing movement, and hopes it’ll urge more places to offer alcohol-free drinks in the same way that more restaurants have been offering vegetarian meals.
“It really is taking off right now, which is awesome because that means that it’s a culture shift that’s expanding outside of this niche thing,” Olivia said. “I hope that the small cities and small towns catch on to that, too, because I think ultimately people are going to be looking for those across the country and broader.”
According to the co-founder, BuzzCutt saw lots of initial excitement and organic downloads upon its launch in June. One user even told the Searses that they’ve waited 10 years for an app of its kind.
But as a self-funded app, Olivia says BuzzCutt needs to build on this momentum. That’s why the founders are planning a “Buzz-Free Bar Hop tour” across four cities, including Portland.
“The whole idea of the Bar Hop is that we want to highlight businesses that are committed to serving choices and options that feel really thoughtful,” she said. “We just want to continue to drive forward this concept of ‘the energy can still be there without alcohol.’ In fact, it can be even more sincere and authentic and present.”
The Portland bar hop is scheduled for this Sunday, Oct. 29 from 3 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. It will take participants through six spots on the northeast side of town, such as The Old Gold, Sad Valley and Keys Lounge.
Tickets are online now for $15. They include admission into the closing party, entry to a raffle worth more than $500 and a swag bag with BuzzCutt merch and alcohol-free drinks.
Olivia says the event isn’t solely for sober people. It’s also for those considering sobriety, and those who simply aim to be more mindful about drinking.