Aqxyl, you're the founder, owner and curator of Minus Moonshine. How did the idea for this come about?
When I stopped drinking back in the beginning of January 2021 I had only set out to do Dry January. I started discovering non-alcoholic spirits that didn't exist the previous times I'd quit. They were game changers. I stopped thinking about alcohol altogether and just enjoyed my cute little NA cocktails. These drinks had way more flavor than the mocktails I'd been making in my kitchen over the decades. There wasn't any place to buy them all so I wondered what a non-alcoholic liquor store would look like. I figured other people were having trouble finding these drinks too. I had to do it. I had to create a space near me that was welcoming and cool and offered the beverages that have kept me from drinking alcohol since January 1st of 2021.
What were some of the early challenges of getting it off the ground?
Honestly, the only challenge thus far has been financing and work/life balance. We started with very little and continue to push forward with very little. However, this allows us to run the business exactly as we wish and we don't have to conform to the wishes or views of investors or board members.
What's been your proudest moment so far?
Each time someone expresses their gratitude for us being here, I feel proud of how far we've come. I feel proud that I've broken a forever-long cycle of alcoholism within my family. I feel proud to know that being here gives people, especially within the queer community, an option to drink something else besides alcohol.
Are you sober or sober curious? How have you found people in your community or friends and family react to this?
I am a non-drinker. Three out of my 4 grandparents struggled with alcohol abuse and I grew up with an alcoholic mother. I have quit drinking many times over the years because, when I do drink, I tend to drink too much. As an autistic person with ADHD, alcohol "helped" me socialize and slow down my incredibly fast and scattered brain. The fatigue and hangovers were never worth it. The dependency on that slow feeling was a good enough reason to continue drinking beverages with zero health benefits. Over the past 20+ years I have experienced years of sobriety at a time, so this was nothing new to my family. The friends that couldn't handle me quitting because it made them think about their own drinking have gone their own way. Not everyone is ready to look at their relationship with alcohol, especially when it's a form of self-medicating or escapism. Feeling all the feels isn't always easy, but I'm living life in 3D now.
Do you have a favourite Three Spirit drink?
I honestly cannot pick a favorite. Livener is my fave afternoon pick-me-up when I'm working from home and Nightcap works wonders when I can't shut off my brain but need to get to sleep. They're both delicious so the only deciding factor on drinking them is the time of day.
And finally, how will you be celebrating Pride this year?
Minus Moonshine is hosting a Sober Queer Social at Here BK on June 11 from 5-8PM with Sam from Third Place Bar, author and podcast host Tawny Lara, and educator, advocate, podcaster Dubbs Weinblatt (Tickets are available HERE).
This month I'm excited to be doing some queer line dancing, hugging my queer and trans friends more than usual, pouring NA drinks at a queer beverage fair, living out and proud as my best (and transparently honest) self, and attending the LA Spirits Awards as a judge.