Bush tucker beer? Guilt-free socialising? No hangover?
All this and more could be yours, thanks to the good people at Sobah. They've come up with a revolutionary range of alcohol-free sudsy goodness that you can enjoy to your heart's content, guilt and hangover free! We chat with this fellow Gold Coast-based business about how Sobah is doing its part in making the world a better place, one beer at a time...
So tell us a little about yourselves, who is the brains behind the brand?
Sobah non-alcoholic beer is the creation of Clinton Schultz, a Gamilaroi man, and well-known psychologist who works in the space of drug and alcohol rehab, employee wellbeing, performance mentoring, suicide prevention and traditional healing. After going sober himself in 2014, he quickly became frustrated with the lack of decent adult tasting non-alcoholic drinks at venues. Giving up the booze was relatively easy for him, but he missed the taste of beer and turned to imported non-alcoholic beers as a substitute. The best ones were Czech, German or Austrian but soon Clinton was bored with the lack of variety so he began adding various bush tucker fruits and spices to his beers. Not long afterwards he began making his own NA craft beer infused with bush tucker for unique flavours. 'Sobah' is a play on words, obviously the word 'sober' but also incorporating the suffix 'bah' which in most east coast languages indicates a place. Therefore Sobah is a place of sobriety where the truly social drink can be enjoyed - without the headache. Two years later, Sobah is the only Australian non-alcoholic craft beer available in the market and we're using it to raise awareness to Aboriginal culture and smash negative stereotypes.
How did Sobah begin, and what was the motivator?
The real motivator has always been to create something that would foster positive change in our society as a whole, to challenge the Australian drinking culture and to be able to give back in some way to community through healing programs that work - the type of healing that isn't Eurocentric and doesn't have to rely on government funding. The Sobah Initiative will become a charity soon and we will be developing programs for healing in the space of drug and alcohol rehab as well as mindfullness with drinking socially, youth programs and working with other established organisations to further develop their practices and programs.
Sobah is not your average beer, what makes it different from the others?
Sobah is a small batch brewed indie craft beer made using premium, unique ingredients. This is where the full-bodied flavour profiles come from that are lacking in other NA beers. We have three brews in our core range that span a wide spectrum of tastes. The Lemon Aspen Pilsner is based off the Czech pale ales we were enjoying before making our own. The lemon aspen fruit is a small nutrient-dense citrus fruit that heralds from Kuku Yalangi Nations lands in Far North Queensland. It gives the beer a sweet, lemony flavour which is enjoyed by all, especially when served with meals. The second NA beer in our range is the Finger Lime Cerveza which is a Mexican style lager, made with maize, and teamed with native finger limes that naturally occur in the Bundjalung Nations lands. This is a Summery-slam-it-down-fast type beer and very popular in our warmer months. Six months after launching the first two brews came our homage to the craft beer world and released a double-hopped IPA complimented with the spicy pepperberry fruit from Tasmania, the Pepperberry IPA. It's bold, hoppy and spicy and a real beer lovers beer. This one goes well down in Vico, moreso than anywhere else... still not sure why, but perhaps Melbournians love there stronger craft beers down there.
One thing we commonly hear is, "Your beers would be good in those dry communities..." and while we tend to agree, it's not for the same reason as is implied.
We love that your company aims to raise awareness of First Nations People's culture, can you tell us a little more about this?
One thing we commonly hear is, "Your beers would be good in those dry communities..." and while we tend to agree, it's not for the same reason as is implied. Statistically, Non-Indigenous Australians are more likely to consume alcohol than First Nations Peoples, but there is a negative stereotype that all our mob are alcoholics. While alcohol consumption is an issue in some communities, it is also an issue in our wider Australian community. We have grown a large following from people all over the world and have a platform to educate others about our culture, history and values. And alcohol (which is a poison) is not a part of our culture. Our culture is the oldest surviving continuous culture in the world and we'd like to see non-Indigenous people embrace this. Through our products we're drawing people in to learn more about our food, art, stories and ways of being. We also strive to be a good role model for our own mob by practicing respect and reciprocity and being responsible for what we're connected to.
What's in store for the future of Sobah?
While we have raised capital through investors to up-scale our production and reach a larger audience, we're working towards raising funds to purchase much-needed equipment for the brewery we contract locally. We aim to release three more beers once we get his equipment, provide unique job opportunities by employing some of our mob, and set up a HQ where people can drop in for a yarn, learn more about us face-to-face, come to sample pilot brews and pick up takeaways. In the longer term, we'd like to have our own brewery, produce a deadly array of different non-alcoholic drinks and be exporting all over the world.
Visit https://sobah.com.au/ to find out more.