Mindful Drinking Fest – The Largest Low- and No-Alcohol Festival

Mindful Drinking Fest – The Largest Low- and No-Alcohol Festival

By: Paul Edelen, Co-Founder

I had the pleasure of attending Mindful Drinking Fest last month and it turned out to be one of the best events I have attended to-date. In a little hall in Washington, DC with over 20 brands, from names like Jas and Parch to behemoths like Heineken and Athletic Brewing Co., it seems that the non-alcoholic beverage and supplement industry will continue to see high growth over the coming years.

I finally had a chance to meet some of the biggest social personalities in the non-alcoholic space, including Laura Silverman of Zero Proof Nation and Rachel Hechtman of Sober in Central Park. While I spent most of my time behind the Bennu booth, I was able to sneak away for a bit and catch Sarah Pretorius and Kayla Mason of SipSteady speaking about marketing for mindful creators.

Having previously been a salesperson in an industry in the mature phase of its life cycle, it is incredibly exciting to be a part of an industry in its growth phase, or arguably its introduction phase, with many businesses still learning about the functionalities offered by Bennu and other brands. The real-time feedback and reactions from interested consumers and small business owners were very valuable; it is one thing to have people tell you what their favorite (or not so favorite) flavor is through online reviews, but to go back-and-forth with the customers and even discuss new ideas was irreplaceable.

As an occasional beer drinker, I was happy to talk with a representative from Heineken who visited the Bennu booth. While she was sampling Bennu, I mentioned that Heineken® 0.0 is my favorite non-alcoholic beer and was my go-to beer” during Dry January. My co-founders ran the Bennu booth the following day, but the Heineken representative came over the next day and dropped off a few samples since they knew I enjoyed it so much. Cheers!

The event was a great experience and one that the Bennu Team plans to attend going forward. Some of my quick takeaways from behind the booth at MDF 2024 are:

The non-alcoholic space has all types of players that are involved, from small and emerging brands to the largest manufacturers that are traditionally known for selling alcoholic beverages
The most influential voices seem to be from the smaller- to medium-sized brands and many are also customers; they are low- and no-alcohol consumers
The non-alcoholic movement is growing in all parts of the USA; customers and business owners hailed from all parts of the country including Tennessee, Georgia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Montana (just to name a few)
Customers still need to be educated about functional beverages and functional ready-to-drink supplements, but are very interested in learning about products that provide relaxation without the booze
Everyone at the event was so inclusive and supportive; there was a real sense of community which made the festival such a pleasant experience.

MDF 2024 was a great time and I’d like to extend a special thanks to Jamie Sabat of Distill + Express for putting this on Bennu’s radar, as well as Derek Brown and Maria Bastasch, the co-founders of Mindful Drinking Fest, for hosting!

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