GLADSTONE - Public Health Delta and Menominee Counties kicked off its annual mocktail tastings at Super Valu in Gladstone Thursday. Two more tastings will take place today and Saturday.
"We serve them every year during the holidays as part of Drunk Driving Prevention Month, and that's been a campaign we've been doing for well over 10 years," said Karen Sargent, prevention specialist at Public Health Delta & Menominee Counties.
Many county health organizations do mocktail events, however, not all counties chose to hold their events in grocery stores.
Ilsa Matthes | Daily Press
Paul Gerard, left, samples a Christmas Dreamsicle mocktail served by Karen Sargent of Public Health Delta Menominee Counties and Gladstone City Manager Darla Falcon at Super Valu Thursday. The mocktail samples were part of PHDM’s annual mocktails tasting campaign, which continues today and Saturday.
"We've chosen the grocery stores simply because you've got a lot of people coming and going. We pass out the recipes and they can pick up the ingredients right at the store," said Sargent.
Mocktail tastings will continue at Elmer's County Market in Escanaba today from noon to 5 p.m. and at Super One Foods on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday's event will be held in conjunction with an appetizer tasting.
"It's been really popular and there's been a cultural shift in communities - once you start creating awareness and people know what the intent is. We're just trying to save lives and not have anyone have to go though a tragic holiday," said Sargent.
The tastings are part of an effort to reduce drunk driving accidents, not eliminate alcohol.
"The intent isn't to stop everybody from drinking, the intent is to offer these alternatives in addition to alcohol," said Sargent.
Law enforcement has also joined in for the mocktail tasting events. The Delta County Sheriff's Department will be assisting at Elmer's today and Escanaba Public Safety will be giving out samples on Saturday at Super One. Gladstone Public Safety handed out samples at Super Valu Thursday.
"Just trying to help out and promote the use of non-alcoholic beverages for the holidays and point out that they can be just as delicious and good for people," said Gladstone Public Safety Director Paul Geyer between handing out samples. "People can have just as good a time with the mocktails."
As added protection for motorists this holiday season, Delta County law enforcement has received part of a statewide grant and will be increasing the number of patrols watching for drunk drivers.
"We all usually have extras out (during the holidays) and this year we'll have more," said Geyer.
Also this holiday season OSF St. Francis Hospital will be conducting its annual Liferides program which offers free taxi service during the holidays.
"When it's an effort that everybody joins in, I think that helps make it successful," said Sargent.