There goes the neighborhood (bar): the New York Times reports that in these particularly health-conscious and civilized times, many alcohol consumers have stopped getting hammered on good ole 190 proof grain alcohol, but are instead opting for lower alcohol and lower calorie beverages. Party time.

The report is one part disturbing, another part unsettling, with a fresh twist of let's get fucked up rubbed on the rim. Why aren't we drinking the way we used to?

Jack Russo, an analyst at Edward Jones, called health and wellness a major trend in the beverage industry. "Consumers are reading nutritional labels more and more," he said, "and the only alcoholic beverage that really does well with women is wine."

Oh, we're trying to be healthy. Okay. Well, bartender, whattaya got on tap tonight?

Kegs of probiotics are newly on tap in bars, and fruit juices have found their way into bottles of beer, as the American beverage industry has introduced new offerings catering to health-conscious consumers wanting wholesome, low-alcohol options.

From fermented black tea to beer mixed with lemon juice, beverage makers say they are trying to add nutritional value while curbing alcohol content and calories. With these moves, some brands are seeking to capture the loyalty of the elusive female consumer — for whom casual alcoholic beverages like beer have typically had less appeal — without alienating men.

I dunno if I feel like drinking tonight anymore.

According to the Times, one of the newer ways to drink without guzzling calories is through a beverage called Kombrewcha, a low-cal kombucha drink that is gluten-free and fermented to an ABV of two percent:

The drink's tagline invites consumers to "get tickled, not pickled." Its label additionally flaunts the drink's probiotic cultures, folic acid, antioxidants and 65 calories. The beverage is available in long-neck bottles and on draft.

The frontier of new low-cal, low-alcohol drinks range from a canned cocktail made with coconut water, a beer-lemonade hybrid brewed by Heineken, and a thing called Lambrucha—a half Lambic, half kombucha hybrid. Why are we doing this to ourselves? From the Times:

Lambrucha — part lambic beer and part kombucha, with 3.5 percent alcohol — was introduced by Vanberg & DeWulf, the brewers of Ommegang, in 2010. Wendy Littlefield, a co-founder of the company, said Lambrucha had tripled in production since it was first introduced and was available in about 40 states. "We think that the last frontier is with sour beer," she said. "You can have complexity, sophistication and low alcohol."

These drinks provide just a little buzz in the event that you'd like to "work out or do emails" after putting back a couple of 'em, which is what Kombrewcha's co-founder Barry J. Nalebuff suggests.


[Image via AP]