Walking Past the Notice Board Changes Everything

Plus a Bold Texas Spirit and the Beer Right Under Your Nose

Wotcha! This week started with my mate Ed and I having a little fun. It managed to fool a few people before we were busted.

In this week’s edition: 

  • 📰 NAN - Nonalcoholic News my Nan would approve of!

  • 🍹 SPIRIT: Tenneyson - Black Ginger

  • 🍺 BEER: Ceria - Grainwave

  • 🍺 BEER: Corona - Nonalcoholic

P.S. I was invited on to the U.S. of N/A: Non-Alcoholic Beer podcast this week, where Jon and I chatted about the Oregon NA scene, Partake Brewing, Kit NA, and our mutual admiration of Speedway Stout. We even manage to squeeze in some footy chat. Lots of fun. Listen here or on your favorite podcast provider.

First time reading this? (Join here).

Read time: 6 mins 38 secs


Nonalcoholic News my Nan would approve of!

  • 🍺 BEER: Washington, D.C.’s brewery DC Brau are launching the first NA beer at the end of the month called NA Brau. (link)

  • 🍹 COCKTAIL: Fans of Aplós will be excited to hear the company is expanding into RTDs with the release of Ume Spritz and Chili Margarita. (link)

  • 🍹 COCKTAIL: Sparkling Raspberry Rosé is the newest RTD from Mingle Mocktails. (link)

  • 🍹 MIXER: I missed this one last month but Topo Chico have launched three new mixers - ginger beer, tonic water and club soda. (link)

  • 🍹 COCKTAIL: Negroni-lovers can get in line behind me to get their hands on the new nonalcoholic Negroni from Florence, Italy’s Lapos. (link)


NA Drinks

In each edition of The Modern Substitute, ON THE BAR focuses on three drinks you should be on the look out for. We’ll give you a quick rundown of our thoughts on the drink, who makes it, where to buy it or, in the case of mocktails, how to make it.

Please note: due to popularity or limited runs, some drinks may be out of stock - please check with the beverage companies for updates.

NA Spirit


  • Austin, TX

  • Calories: 25

  • Sugar: 0g

  • Serving: 25.4 fl.oz. (2 fl.oz. per indivdual serving)

  • ABV: 0%

  • Buy: tenneyson.com • widely available online

  • Price: $39.00

The ModSub thoughts: From the moment I read about Tenneyson, I knew—or at least hoped—that it would be the spirit to fill the void left by giving up premium bourbon and gin. Those higher-end spirits that are too expensive to add to a cocktail but are perfect with a little ice or, better yet, neat. There are some great nonalcoholic spirits out there, but not all are made to fly solo.

Michael Bumgarner and Graham Wasilition were college roommates who remained close friends as they forged their respective careers after graduation. Both were blessed with an entrepreneurial drive. Michael dove into the wellness industry, starting a plant-based skincare company, while Graham entered the hospitality business with the launch of an absinthe.

Combining both skillsets and with the nonalcoholic market beginning to explode, the pair decided to create their own plant-based alcohol alternative. Tenneyson launched in 2021 debuting with Black Ginger.

Their goal was to create a sophisticated yet bold, full-flavored spirit that stood out from the rest of the pack. Black Ginger achieves this and then some. Created by distilling dandelion, gentian root, orange oil, lemon balm leaves, two types of ginger, among other plant-based ingredients, the spirit has an almost tea-like pour to it.

The flavor is layered with complexity, orange-forward but with an earthy maturity and a tempered bitterness, married with a touch of honeyed sweetness. The spice awakens every nook and cranny of your mouth, with a lengthy peppery linger that taunts the remaining contents of your glass to come join in.

That’s just what you get from drinking it neat. If you don’t want a “punch in the mouth,” (Graham’s description, not mine) then Black Ginger works equally well in a cocktail, with all the spirits qualities shining through the accompanying mixers.

Black Ginger is uniquely different. An amaro, a potent infused tea, a spirit with a heady bite—it is all of these things and yet none of them at the same time. It is exactly, I would imagine, what these two friends wanted it to be; a full-blooded spirit that challenges you to fall in love with it.

I’m head over heels.

How does Tenneyson describe Black Ginger: Our Black Ginger is Bold and Spicy yet sip-able. Unlike any spirit or aperitif you have ever tasted. Excellent on its own or mixed into a No or Low-Alcohol cocktail. We don't mock the flavors or effects of traditional liquor categories like whiskey or gin. We do our OWN thing for a fresh, bold and bright take on what liquor could be. Think along the lines of an aperitif or digestif; concentrated, botanical, spicy and robust ginger, without any bubbles or added sugars.

Learn more about Tenneyson at tenneyson.com

NA Beer


  • Arvada, Colorado

  • Calories: 77

  • Sugar: No added sugars

  • Serving: 12 fl.oz.

  • ABV: 0.00%

  • Buy: ceriabrewing.com • store locator • Amazon, Total Wine, Target

  • Price: $14.99 (6-pack)

The ModSub thoughts: Remember Gwyneth Paltrow's 1998 movie, Sliding Doors, where the film follows her life unfolding in two different storylines? One where she makes it through the doors of a train just as they are closing, and the other where she misses it by seconds and has to wait for the next one. It's a story of life's “what ifs” and the consequences and outcomes you have no control over.

What if Keith Villa had walked past the notice board that hung in the laboratory at his college, instead of stopping? He wouldn’t have seen a job advertisement for a molecular biologist researching brewing and fermenting at Coors Brewery. He wouldn't have beaten 75 other students to get the job, or two years later, be offered the chance to study at the University of Brussels in Belgium. He wouldn’t have pursued his doctorate in brewing, nor would he have had a hand in many of Coors' most successful beers.

Most importantly, he wouldn't have created a recipe based on his time in Belgium, turning the beer into one of the best-selling craft beers in U.S. brewing history. Which would mean we wouldn’t have had Blue Moon Belgian White.

He also wouldn't have retired from Coors after 32 years and almost immediately opened his own small nonalcoholic brewery, Ceria Brewing, with his wife and daughter.

That would mean when I went to Total Wine last week and scoured the beer section for something I hadn’t had before, I wouldn’t have grabbed a can of Ceria Grainwave off the shelf.

I also wouldn’t have cracked it open an hour ago and enjoyed the cloudy muddy golden pour with a generous head. I would have missed out on a tremendous Witbier, with hints of spice and a generous serving of orange embracing a bread maltiness.

Instead, Dr. Keith Villa would have spent 30+ years in the medical profession, not brewing world-famous beer. I wouldn’t be typing on this laptop at this very moment in time, telling you not to miss out on this lovely beer.

Sliding doors. Walking past notice boards. What ifs.

How does Ceria Brewing Co. describe Grainwave: Grainwave is our unfiltered, alcohol-free Belgian-style white ale brewed with blood orange peel, coriander, and Hallertau Tradition hops for medium body and bright, refreshing flavors.

Learn more about Ceria Brewing Co. at ceriabrewing.com

BONUS: If you are interested in Dr Villa’s story and some in-depth knowledge on brewing beer, including NA beer, this is a great interview on the BeerSmith podcast.


  • Mexico

  • Calories: 60

  • Sugar: Unknown

  • Serving: 12 fl.oz.

  • ABV: 0.5%

  • Buy: Widely available in most large supermarkets and online

  • Price: $9.99-$11.99 (6-pack)

The ModSub thoughts: For some, the next suggestion might seem a bit obvious, but I hope for others, it won't be. It's easy to fall into the trap of endlessly searching for breweries, both obscure and well-known, that produce excellent nonalcoholic craft beers. In doing so, we sometimes overlook what could be considered an obvious choice that's right under our nose.

When my cousin sent me a photo of a case of Corona Cero with the message, "The next time you feel you don't have an impact on anyone ... think again x." it was a touching reminder of why I spend 12-15 hours every week researching and writing this newsletter. Taking a cue from Austin Kleon, I keep this message in a "praise file" for the inevitable days when imposter syndrome tries to stab my self confidence.

However, it was also a reminder that Corona was quite a staple in the before times, and that's why I've added it to this week's newsletter.

We all have our favorite Mexican beers, but mine was always Corona. I'll admit, it's something I reserve for sunny days. I'm not going to pick up a 6-pack when there are snow flurries. But for BBQs, warm summer evenings, and of course, eating fabulous Mexican cuisine, a bottle or two of Corona is just the ticket … with lime, obviously.

There's really no need to describe the taste. It's a great light Mexican lager, and if you've liked Corona in the past, you'll love this nonalcoholic version because it's pretty much exactly the same drink. I know it sounds like I'm being lazy, but really, it's identical.

So there you have it. Don't forget that Corona has a nonalcoholic version. It's bloody good.

How does Corona describe their Corona Non-Alcoholic: The taste of the original in a non-alcoholic brew. Meet Corona Non-Alcoholic. It has the same crisp and balanced taste of your favorite Mexican Lager. Add a lime wedge and enjoy anytime.

Learn more about Corona at coronausa.com

If you enjoyed this edition of The Modern Substitute then please forward it to a friend who might be interested in NA drinks.

Cheers! See you next week!

Did You Miss The Last Week’s Newsletter?

Join the conversation

or to participate.