PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — For many adults, consuming alcoholic drinks on a night out with friends is inevitable. But for others who are trying to socialize while sober, going to bars without mocktail options can be a buzzkill.
That’s why two Portland women are launching BuzzCutt, an app that helps people find bars and restaurants in their city that offer non-alcohol drinks.
BuzzCutt founders Olivia and Sarah Sears met in Chicago nearly 10 years ago. The two reconnected in Portland about four years ago, before getting married three years ago.
“I’m actually three years sober, so essentially, this all kind of stemmed from when I was ready to get back out into social life,” Sarah said. “And that’s when Liv really took the reins, like bless her, to find places where I could confidently go to the bar and know that I wasn’t going to have to have these awkward back-and-forth conversations.”
At some bars, customers who ask for non-alcoholic drinks will just be offered mixers like juice or soda. BuzzCutt ensures that people can go places with proper mocktails, alcohol-free IPAs or other sober-friendly beverages that are still fun to drink.
After a while of using the store-finders provided by some of the top non-alcoholic drink brands, Olivia decided that she and Sarah should launch their own app that would list bars, restaurants and grocery stores across the country that offer those options.
“We’ve just been talking to people about BuzzCutt and learning about the true need for this app,” Olivia, who also works as an account manager, said. “It’s all across the spectrum of reasons people are choosing to explore, or choosing just not to drink or drink less.”
She added that the app would benefit people who are sober and in recovery, as well as those who live in smaller towns and aren’t aware of the non-alcoholic options around them.
Being pregnant, having early morning workout plans, and following a religion that doesn’t allow alcohol are just a few more reasons why some people search for alcohol-free beverages on a night out.
The search will be easier once BuzzCutt officially launches during the summer of 2023. Now, during dry January, the couple is raising money for the app while they’re in the second phase of developing it.
An online fundraiser will go live on Indiegogo Monday, Jan. 23. Donors will have the opportunity to win BuzzCutt merch, designed by Sarah who works as a creative director at her full-time job.
Additionally, there will be an in-person fundraising bazaar at the Victoria Bar in Northeast Portland that has its own menu of drinks that are “spirit-free, but full of life.” That fundraiser will be on Saturday, Jan. 28 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
BuzzCutt’s co-founders want to differentiate their brand from similar apps by being fresh, energetic faces in the market. And once the app launches and is successful, Olivia said the two plan on donating a percentage of their profits toward the recovery and LGBTQIA+ communities that often intersect.
“It’s really near and dear to our heart because it’s for the community, by someone who’s a part of the community…” Sarah said. “There’s so many reasons why people choose not to drink and we just really want to focus on creating that clear access point for whatever the reason might be.”