Several flavors of Urban Farm Fermentory's kombuchas. Credit: Courtesy of Urban Farm Fermentory

As we bid goodbye to another strange year, most of us will probably see it out with some kind of a celebration — a muted one, likely, given the latest COVID-19 surge in Maine, but a reason to clink glasses and sing nonetheless.

But while some may wish to quaff champagne and other boozy beverages on New Year’s Eve, plenty more will choose a non-alcoholic libation as their drink of choice for the midnight hour. While all the attention usually goes to cocktails, mocktails are nearly as popular a beverage.

In honor of those who choose not to imbibe or cannot, or who have started their Dry January challenge a little early, here are six Maine-made options for ringing in the new year without a drop of alcohol to be found.

Sodas

The most obvious choice for a non-boozy drink is soda, and there are two great makers of fizzy stuff right here in Maine. Maine Root, bottled in Portland, is one of the most popular craft sodas on the East Coast, with its spicy ginger beer making a fantastic Dark and Stormy or Moscow Mule. But the company’s other flavors, like orange, blueberry, cream, black cherry and cola are equally tasty, as well as its bottled lemonade. It’s available in supermarkets, shops, and restaurants and bars statewide.

In this May 27, 2005 file photo, bottles of the soft drink Moxie are pictured in West Bath, Maine. Credit: Pat Wellenbach / AP

Cap’n Eli, also based in Portland, is one of the first modern-day craft soda lines in the country, founded in 1996 alongside its sister brand, Shipyard Brewing Company. Its root beer is a Maine classic, as are its other flavors, like strawberry, blueberry, cherry and ginger. It’s also available in supermarkets and restaurants and bars statewide.

And, of course, there’s always Moxie. Love it or hate it, it is Maine’s state soft drink, and even though it was acquired by Coca-Cola in 2018, and it’s actually made and bottled in New Hampshire, it will always be associated with the Pine Tree State.

Seltzers and teas

For something a bit less sugary, there are several Maine options for seltzers, teas and less-sweet beverages. Green Bee, based in Brunswick, makes both honey-based sodas and seltzers. Their honey sodas all have between 60 and 130 calories per bottle, and come in natural flavors like cider, green tea, blueberry, lemon and ginger, while its seltzers come in three flavors (ginger, lemon and blueberry) and all have 15 calories or less. It’s available in stores and cafes across the state.

Vena’s Fizz House products

This Portland bar and beverage company makes a huge array of mixers, syrups and pre-made cocktail or mocktail mixes that will take your home mixology up to another level. Much of what Vena’s offers can be made booze-free, and the company also has detailed instructions on its website on how to do it, alongside other mocktail recipes. You can buy Vena’s products online at venasfizzhouse.com.

Kombucha

Technically, kombucha is not non-alcoholic, as it usually registers between 0.5 and 1.5 percent alcohol. That’s a number that’s so low that you’d have to quickly drink multiple bottles of ‘booch to get a buzz, meaning that for people who only casually abstain from alcohol, it’s probably safe to drink. Urban Farm Fermentory in Portland makes several lovely products, including its original kombucha, in flavors like ginger, blueberry, chaga chai and toasted oak, and seasonal flavors like cranberry and elderflower, most of which are available in Hannaford Supermarkets statewide. It also makes Jun, a probiotic green tea that’s sweetened with honey and flavored with botanical ingredients.

Non-alcoholic beer

Matt McComish (from left), Adrian Beck-Oliver, Rob Barrett, Will Fisher, Simon Burhoe, Liz Morris and Charley Zimmerman sample a brew at KITna Brewing in Portland in November 2021. Credit: Jennifer Mitchell / Maine Public

A relatively new addition to Maine’s craft beer scene, non-alcoholic beers are growing in popularity nationwide among people who like the taste of beer, but don’t want the alcohol. KITna Brewery in Portland — Maine’s first nonalcoholic craft brewery — debuted this fall, while Woodland Farms Brewery in Kittery also makes some non-alcoholic brews.

Maine blueberry grower Wyman’s set up website sales and diversified into shelf-stable products, like blueberry juice, that it could sell directly to consumers as a way to weather the 2020 pandemic. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

Juice

What better way to enjoy a beverage that tastes completely of Maine than with blueberry juice? Wyman’s, Maine’s venerable processor of wild blueberries, makes a whole host of blueberry products, including its blueberry juice, which is made with 100 percent fruit. It’s good on its own, but it’s also great added to seltzer, or made into a punch with other mixers like lime or lemon juice, ginger beer or iced tea. Right now, it’s only available on the Wyman’s website, but it ships from Maine so it shouldn’t take too long to get to you in-state.

Avatar photo

Emily Burnham

Emily Burnham is a Maine native and proud Bangorian, covering business, the arts, restaurants and the culture and history of the Bangor region.