• The SOBAH non-alcoholic craft beer line is the latest venture from Clinton and Lozen Schultz, co-owners of native food truck Clinto's Kupmurri. (Supplied)
A new Aboriginal-owned line of non-alcoholic craft beers harness native ingredients to provide a healthy alternative to alcohol.
By
Ella Archibald-Binge

7 Dec 2017 - 9:27 AM  UPDATED 7 Dec 2017 - 9:34 AM

Clinton Schultz stopped drinking alcohol three years ago, mainly because he "can't stand hypocrites". 

A health psychologist working in suicide prevention and drug and alcohol rehabilitation, he decided he should lead by example. 

"I thought if I'm going to be out there promoting this healthy lifestyle... I want to be living it," he explains. 

But the Gamilaroi man resented having to order soft drinks while out at restaurants and cafes, and soon saw a gap in the market: "I still wanted something that was an adult-tasting drink and it's just not really available, so I just went 'well I'll start making my own'."

Two years on, he's about to launch SOBAH - a new line of non-alcoholic craft beers. The name is a play on the word 'sober', and the suffix 'bah', used in many east-coast Aboriginal languages to mean 'place of'. Melded together, SOBAH means 'place of sobriety'. 

"The real driver behind it is to raise awareness of the issues of alcohol in Australia – not amongst us as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, amongst Australian society," Clinton tells NITV News.

The product is an extension of Clinton's successful native food truck business, Clinto's Kupmurri, which he co-owns and operates on the Gold Coast with wife Lozen.

Like his food products, the beers are infused with native Australian ingredients such lemon aspen and finger lime. They also have a range of health benefits, being a probiotic rich in antioxidants, folate, potassium and vitamins.

Whether he's cooking up emu skewers, brewing a lemon aspen pilsner or helping clients through rehabilitation programs, traditional practices are at the heart of Clinton's work. 

"I’m really passionate about our culture and our ways, and the things we’ve always done that have kept us strong and deadly," he says.

Though SOBAH is still in its early stages, Clinton and Lozen hope to soon see their beers at cafes, bars and restaurants across the country. Ultimately, they're aiming to run their own non-alcoholic craft beer brewery, raising money for culturally-sensitive rehab programs.

"I’ve really witnessed that what we’re doing at the moment just isn’t working for a lot of people, particularly our people," Clinton says.

"I think we need a much stronger cultural and spiritual focus in terms of the rehabilitation that we do, but it’s very hard to get support and funding for initiatives that come from that cultural and spiritual focus that don’t have the empirical evidence behind them that government bodies like to have." 

SOBAH launches at the Gold Coast on Friday, December 8.