Crack Open a Can of Joy

A locally based retailer is gaining popularity for its variety of nonalcoholic beer

Pete Holland. Photo by Todd Cooper

From 2023 Super Bowl ads featuring Marvel’s Ant Man Paul Rudd to a booze-free stand at hipster heaven Coachella, non-alcoholic beer is having its time in the limelight. 

And it’s never been easier to find a wide variety of non-alcoholic beers in Lane County. The Eugene-based online retailer Killjoy curates several brands of non-alcoholic beer, far more than what’s offered at grocery stores and liquor stores. 

“If you’re looking for a buzz, it’s not going to be for you,” Killjoy owner Pete Holland says of non-alcoholic beer. “But if you go for a hike, have lunch and crack open a cold non-alcoholic beer, you don’t feel like you want to take a nap or keep drinking.” 

Holland made the lifestyle change into non-alcoholic drinks in 2019. At that time, he says, drinking had become routine for him — drinking a few glasses of wine while making and eating dinner — and he was feeling morning hangovers more and more. 

Holland became “sober curious,” a term coined by author Ruby Warrington in her book Sober Curious: The Blissful Sleep, Greater Focus, Limitless Presence, and Deep Connection Awaiting Us All on the Other Side of Alcohol. 

In 2021, about a year into his sobriety, he thought he was sentenced to drinking “boring beverages,” but then took a drink of the non-alcoholic Athletic Brewery’s Run Wild IPA about a year into his sobriety. 

“I was like, ‘Holy shit, this is really good,’” Holland recalls. For the next six months, he says he’d go to The Bier Stein to see what non-alcoholic options there were at the bottle shop, and that’s when he realized that there weren’t many places that sell a variety of non-alcoholic beers. 

Holland founded Killjoy in summer 2022 as a way to curate what he says is good tasting non-alcoholic beer, which offers a variety of brands, from Crux Fermentation Company in Bend to Self Care Brewery in Olympia, Washington. 

The non-alcoholic industry has grown in popularity, and 0.5 percent beer is the king of booze-free drinks. According to sales data from Nielsen Research, between August 2021 and August 2022 the total dollar sales of non-alcoholic drinks in the U.S. stood at $395 million, showing a year-on-year growth of 20 percent. But these sales are minuscule compared to how much Americans spend on alcohol: from mid-July 2021 to mid-July 2022, 0.39 percent of total alcohol sales were nonalcoholic products.

Locally, Holland says he hasn’t seen an overwhelming demand for non-alcoholic beers, but the majority of his sales are from customers who live in Eugene. For non-alcoholic beer drinkers, Killjoy has more options than local businesses that sell alcohol. The typical grocery store may sell around three to five selections, he says, but his company has a rotating inventory of more than 30 drinks at a time. 

Drinking non-alcoholic beers may not get you buzzed or drunk, but Holland says it’s a way to provide something to drink in a social element. 

“If you’re drinking beer to get hammered, then there’s no point,” Holland retorts. “I would say 95 percent of drinking beer is there with nonalcoholic beer. One of the reasons is that it tastes good and the texture is good because alcohol is a comparatively small part of beer.” ν

For more information about Killjoy, visit 

Comments are closed.