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During the height of COVID-19, by mid-2020, I was stressed out, to say the least. Starting that year I had planned on raising a round of funding while at the same time launching our expansion into retail.
In late February we flew up to NYC and did a roadshow to talk to every relevant venture capital firm in the city. As we were gaining fundraising momentum, talks of a “coronavirus” started becoming more prevalent on the news. Then suddenly, around March 15th, 2020 the world shut down. The COVID-19 pandemic and its resulting panic had arrived. Growth plummeted, revenue decreased, venture capital firms decided to wait and see what might happen, and retailers stopped taking in new products.
Everything we had planned on doing that year came to a halt. Basically, everything shut down—except for our bills.
Over the next few months, my colleagues and I mounted the turnaround of our careers. We recognized that while the social drinking world shut down, at-home drinking increased. As a result, we put more emphasis on the liver-health aspects of our products. By the end of December, we posted Cheers’ largest year yet in company history.
Like many other people, my own personal drinking habits crept up. Working from home made it hard for me to feel “away from work” and so alcohol became more of a ritual to help me unwind in the evenings.
Cheers’ increased focus on liver health generated the idea that we should create a tool centered around helping people understand how their habits might influence their health and then create educational content around that subject. So, we launched the Liver Habits Score™ in Q1 2022.
One of the main factors in the Liver Habits Score is your drinking habits—specifically 1) the total amount of alcohol consumed each week, 2) amount of drinking days per week, and 3) how often you take “breaks” from alcohol—such as “Dry January”.
As I was researching and writing much of the content for this tool, I realized my increased drinking habits could eventually cause health problems.
I was having 2–3 drinks every evening to “unwind” from the workday. And then on weekends, this number would at least double, sometimes triple. Golfing is one of the most socially distanced activities you can do, and so, I would play it on weekends with friends—often with a case of beer in the back of the cart. It’s not uncommon to have 5–6 beers over the course of a 4 hour round of golf and then have some more afterward.
In total, that’s around 21–28 drinks per week. Would it hurt me? Probably not, but there’s a chance it could lead to various diseases, so I wanted to do better with my habits rather than rolling the dice.
One of the hardest parts about taking a look at your alcohol consumption is accurately tracking how much you drank. 2–3 drinks each evening might not feel like a lot at the moment, but that’s 21 drinks a week on the high end. And I never paid enough attention to my drinking habits on the weekends—so sometimes it’s hard to realize how much you actually drink.
As I was looking into solutions for tracking my drinking habits as well as something I could recommend to Cheers’ customers I came across Sunnyside. Signup is free and only takes a few minutes. Basically, it walks you through a quick quiz that asks specifics about your current drinking habits as well as your goals.
My goals were pretty simple: 1) break my habit of drinking daily to unwind after work 2) drink less on weekends, and 3) stay around government guidelines for liver health.
Once I put this information in the app it gave me a rundown of my daily goals for the week. If you were drinking a lot like me, then it slowly lowers the drink count each week so that you’re not too ambitious. The app is super simple to use because it is all done through text messages. Anytime that you have a drink, you simply text the number a drink icon of what you had.
Sunnyside is super easy to use:
Here are screenshots of what my first week looked like. I didn’t do so hot, but you can see that the app did a good job of being encouraging and not judgmental. Over time, this little app becomes your friend and you want to please it.
In the beginning, your goal should primarily be tracking your drinks each day. After a week or two, you can really start to see your habits—for better or worse. Of course, it wasn’t fun to look at my habits initially, but it was an important step in me developing healthier drinking habits that would serve me for the rest of my life.
One of my favorite things about Sunnyside is that it is not an all-or-nothing approach to alcohol consumption. While I don’t want to knock groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (or “AA”)—as I know the group has saved many people’s lives—the fact of the matter is that not all people who are drinking too much want or even need to cut alcohol out of their lives entirely.
Treating alcohol as “all or nothing” doesn’t have to be the case for everyone. There can, in fact, be a middle ground.
After about 3 months of using Sunnyside, I am proud to say that I have successfully met my goal of having less than 14 drinks per week. The biggest help is reminding me to slow down whenever I’m in party mode. Do I still sometimes go overboard? Sure, but this app has helped me be more mindful of this.
It doesn’t take work anymore. It’s as simple as putting the drinks in and then letting the app do a good job of helping you keep pace against your goals.
At this point, Sunnyside has really become an accountability partner—just like all my other apps. The way I see it, Sunnyside is no different than using an app to track your workouts or your sleep. Sure, it’s not necessary to use your Apple Watch to remind you when to go to bed or tell you how much sleep you got. However, when you start tracking it and realize that you’ve gone to bed after midnight for 3 days in a row, it’s a bit of a kick in the rear to be more mindful about when you’re going to sleep.
In business, there’s a saying that “whatever gets measured gets managed.” I believe the same is true for life outside of work too. If you measure your sleep, your exercise, or your drinking, you end up wanting to improve upon them.
As we think about the future of alcohol-related health, we believe that “mindful drinking”—or simply being aware of your drinking habits and working to improve them—is a big part of our mission to “promote fun, responsible, health-conscious alcohol consumption.” We believe that it also fits in with our vision: “A world where everyone can enjoy alcohol throughout a long, healthy, and happy lifetime.” Ultimately, being more mindful about your drinking is an important step in allowing alcohol to be part of a long-term healthy lifestyle.
We know something good when we see it, and Sunnyside has created a phenomenal product. This ultimately is why we recommend using Sunnyside to all of our customers who are interested in being more mindful about their drinking.
To get started, simply go to www.sunnyside.co and take their 3-minute quiz to sign up. The first two weeks are free, and thereafter it’s just $12/month, with the ability to easily cancel any time.
As our companies continue to grow, we both will be releasing new products and services. Sunnyside is a startup focused on mindful drinking services whereas Cheers is a startup focused on alcohol-related health products.
We love aligning with companies who put the same thought and care in connecting with their customers, and we appreciate Sunnyside's thoughtful approach in leading this positive movement with a mission so similar to ours. We’re excited to see the ways that our companies can partner together in the future, and we’ll be sure to keep you posted, Cheers family!
Sláinte! 🍻 (“Cheers” in Irish ☘️—translates literally as “to health”)
Brooks Powell (Founder of Cheers)
Cheers is the leading alcohol-related health brand focused on developing products that support your liver and help you feel great the next day. As a student at Princeton, Cheers’ founder Brooks Powell discovered the potential advantage of incorporating the natural plant extract Dihydromyricetin (DHM) into an after-alcohol consumption regimen and began working with his professors to make products that addressed the unique challenges of alcohol-related health. . Since its official launch in 2017, Cheers has sold more than 13 million doses to over 300 thousand customers. The research-backed line of products includes three versions of supplemental pills and powders – Restore, Hydrate and Protect. Cheers is now releasing read-to-drink versions of their products—starting with Cheers Restore. Each product is equipped to meet different health needs such as rehydration, liver support, and acetaldehyde exposure. Cheers places an equal emphasis on the responsibility and health aspects of its mission and vision. The brand’s mission is bringing people together by promoting fun, responsible, and health-conscious alcohol consumption. The vision is a world where everyone can enjoy alcohol throughout a long, healthy, and happy lifetime. For more information, visit cheershealth.com or join the social conversation at @cheershealth.