The Journey to an Alcohol-Free Workplace
The Intertwined History of Alcohol and Work
“Where there is no beer, there is no work.” So say the Suri tribe in Ethiopia and South Sudan who begin their day with a drink. The Suri aren’t unusual. For almost as long as we’ve been drinking alcohol, it’s been closely intertwined with our working lives. Sometimes booze is used as a payment for labour. From the first known large scale human structures of the Neolithic Göbekli Tepe to the Great Pyramid at Giza, manual labour has often been paid for by the pint.
Alcohol in Military History
Between the mercenaries fighting in the Hundred Years War in Europe and both the American revolutionaries and their British opponents in the 1770’s, alcohol—rum, usually—was an important part of a soldier’s wages. Some warfare work environments have even given birth to particular tipples—the French Foreign legion once used a green tinted concoction to purify their water supplies, but soldiers developed a taste for the stuff and absinthe made its way into the drinks cabinet of history.
Modern Office Drinking Culture
Anyone who’s worked in an office will be familiar with work drinking culture, and whilst there are plenty of worrying statistics about the negative impact of alcohol in the workplace—more than 44 million work days were lost to alcohol use in 2017 in the UK and in the US 14% of all work absences between 2015 and 2019 were alcohol related—there’s a reason for the perennial association of alcohol and work, we’re a species that loves to come together and celebrate, especially after a hard day at the coalface.
In Japan and Korea “nomikai” and “hoesik” refer to after work drinking sessions. They’re an integral part of the corporate culture. The gatherings are seen as a way for colleagues and superiors to bond and break down formal work barriers. In France—surprise, surprise—wine is a traditional part of the business lunch. Alcohol has been a foundation of trust and team building for thousands of years.
Alcohol-Free Alternatives for Workplace Celebrations
Popular media like The Office have immortalised the good, the bad, and the cringeworthy of alcohol in workplace festivities. It’s no stretch to say that many of the excesses of an office shindig are down to the run-on effects of a bit too much booze. At Sentia, we don’t want to brow beat anyone for getting jolly, but we do want to provide options for those of us who don’t drink alcohol, or don’t want to this Xmas. Alcohol and its positive effects have been with us since our distant ancestors first grabbed a twig to use as a tool. Sentia isn’t about doing away with all of that. In fact, because Sentia is 100% alcohol free, there’s no reason why you can’t knock up a Black or Red cocktail to have at your desk—we’ve got 12 days of Christmas cocktails for you here to make your time at the office a little less Dilbert and a little more Suri.