PORTLAND, Ore. ( TheStreet) -- If not during the holiday weekend, then at some point during the summer a guest at one of your barbecues or parties is going to walk up to your cooler and declare that he or she doesn't like beer. They'll then ask if you have anything else.
That shouldn't automatically translate to "Please throw me out of your event" or "Nice spread, mouth breather." If that person isn't a complete teetotaler, they just might be the 34.3% of Americans who prefer mixed drinks or straight spirits or the 16.9% who prefer wine, according to the Distilled Spirits Council.
That puts you in a bit of an awkward position. Sure, you could whip up a pitcher of sangria, crank out a few margaritas or raid the racks for an expendable bottle of riesling, but why should you? None of those options have beer's portability and size and just about all of them are going to be far more labor intensive than just cracking open a can or popping the top off a bottle.
Besides, there are alternatives in your beer aisle or bottle shop that will mingle nicely with you summer variety packs. Big brewers such as Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD), SABMiller (SAB), MolsonCoors (TAP), Boston Beer (SAM - Get Report) and the Craft Brew Alliance (BREW - Get Report) have all added cider to their selections to woo drinkers averse to malt and hops. A-B and Craft Brew, meanwhile, have also removed gluten from the equation in their Redbridge and Omission brews, respectively, just in case that ingredient or its potential repercussions for drinkers with Celiac disease were turning customers away.In short, brewers want non-beer drinkers, too, and aren't afraid to take some chances to reel them in. They face a crowded and unfamiliar cooler space in doing so, however, and butt up against companies that have been taking care of the folks beer left behind for a good, long time. In the interest of opening America's coolers to everyone and making summer parties safe for the masses, we offer a summer six-pack of non-beer brews that should fit in anywhere you'd normally reserve for you bottles or tallboy cans of choice:
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