No Alcohol? No Problem. SipSteady founders Kayla Mason and Sarah Pretorius are elevating KC’s mocktail movement—even in our sports stadiums

Photography by Joe Zlatnik.

Despite meeting over margaritas—or maybe thanks to—Kayla Mason and Sarah Pretorius joined forces, creating SipSteady, a PR agency dedicated solely to promoting zero-proof brands.

According to Mason and Pretorius, the nonalcoholic beverage trend really gained traction when the pandemic hit. Folks were analyzing their lifestyle choices and, as a result, thinking about their health. Drinking less became a part of that, says Mason and Pretorius, who say they believe the trend shows no signs of slowing down—hence the creation of SipSteady, which they say is the first promotion agency dedicated solely to nonalcoholic brands.

“Our mission is to help nondrinkers of every stripe feel seen, welcome and supported in their alcohol-free journey,” Mason says. “By us being able to support these brands, we’re thereby able to help the end user, the consumer, as they go into bars and restaurants.”

The pair want to emphasize that their work is not about being anti-alcohol. While Pretorius, from Arlington, Virginia, is completely alcohol-free, Mason, a former engineer from Alberta, Canada, is a mindful drinker. Whether they’re creating an N/A menu for the Boulevardia music festival or helping a company launch its hemp-infused line of beverages, SipSteady is about helping non-drinkers “feel seen and supported,” they say.

When asked why they think Gen Z has been leading the no and low alcohol movement often referred to as NoLo, Mason and Pretorius attribute several factors. Gen Z is the first generation to grow up with social media, and there’s a new anxiety to going out and knowing that they could be captured publicly at any moment. On the flip side, social media also offers opportunities that preceding generations didn’t have, they say.

“What we noticed is [Gen Z] has so much more opportunity to be entrepreneurs with social media,” Mason says. “They’re not looking to be hazy or go out every night. They have legit ways to build on their personal brands from a very young age.”

But it’s not just Zoomers who want more drink options when they go out. It’s pregnant women, runners training for a marathon and even the sober curious. Cities on the coasts have even gone so far as to dedicate entire bars and stores to nonalcoholic beverages, such as STAY, a zero-proof cocktail lounge in Los Angeles, and Gem Life and Bar, the first female-owned N/A bottle store in New Jersey. Heck, even the Green Bay Packers’ stadium now dedicates an entire section to nondrinkers—and that’s what SipSteady sees next for KC. 

“Something we’re very passionate about is really putting KC on the map as a sober-inclusive travel destination,” Pretorius says. “With our sports teams that might be counterintuitive, but the market is definitely growing here. So, Chiefs, KC Current, Royals, we’re looking at all of them and would love to partner with them.”  


Rise and Shine

Kayla: Sarah always laughs, but my go-to is the pepperjack breakfast burrito at Waldo’s McClain’s and usually an iced matcha latte with a pump of vanilla and almond milk. But Café Corazón’s Spicy Mayan Mocha is also to die for. 

Sarah: I always get the pesto bacon egg sandwich from McClain’s. Otherwise, I’m going to Café Cà Phê for a Dirty Tiger and Mr. D’s Donuts. 

Afternoon Adventures 

Kayla: I’ll head over to Shawnee Mission Park for a hike with my husband. By then we’re ready for another coffee, so we’ll hit up Station 3 Coffee Shop

Sarah: My husband and I will go to the Nelson-Atkins. Maybe we’ll bring a picnic for the lawn or grab tacos from Tacos El Gallo in the Crossroads.

N/A Drinks

Sarah: Slow Motion Goods is owned by our dear friend Hayley Santell and has an amazing alcohol-free cocktail menu that uses adaptogens and elixirs. 

Kayla: Justin’s of Lenexa has the largest N/A section of any store. But I love Green Dirt on Oak’s Jason Waterfalls mocktail and Wild Child’s Bearing Fruit mocktail.

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