What is Always Sober?

SCCC Graduate and Employee Is a Business Owner

student in a sweatshirt that says Always Sober

Tristan Brown-DeVirgilio, Contributing Writer

Johnny Berry, 22, is a graduate and employee at Suffolk Community College’s Eastern campus. During his time as a student, he majored in business administration until his graduation in the fall of 2019.

Johnny is also a business owner. His business is a brand called Always Sober.

In Johnny’s words, Always Sober is “a lifestyle clothing brand.” Johnny sells an array of Always Sober merchandise online, including hats, hoodies, and tee shirts. The message behind the brand is for “young kids, older kids, any age, not to fall under peer pressure and to stand [their] ground” against the temptation of alcohol, especially as a gateway to being accepted into social circles. The brand promotes sobriety, but also, more generally, self-improvement. As Johnny says, Always Sober is “the will to be better than yesterday.”

Always Sober is a consequence of a personal story. Johnny has never drunk alcohol, nor smoked or used any drugs, and says that he never will. When Johnny was in high school, starting around 9th grade, Johnny’s peers began experimenting with alcohol, as seems to often be the case. Johnny decided he didn’t want to drink alcohol, despite what his friends said or did; he believed it was not “the right thing to do.”
By 11th grade, Johnny notes, increasingly more of his peers started drinking. In addition, people began trying to convince him to drink. However, Johnny remained unmoved in his decision. He notes, “I made it my motto that, ‘Oh, I’m never drinking.” His resolve was strengthened the more he stayed away from alcohol. It was a similar story in 12th grade, but by this time, his peers stopped trying to convince him to drink.

“I never caved to peer pressure,” Johnny remembers.

Johnny began envisioning the brand around the end of high school when he was 18 years old. In October of 2019, he bought the domain name for his brand’s website (alwayssober.com) for just under $1000, and with only about $200 leftover for himself after the purchase. He launched his website on his 21st birthday, in April of 2020.

Johnny had a few different reasons for creating the brand. Perhaps most importantly, Johnny says that he has an “addictive personality,” and believes that he would become too extreme with alcohol if he tried it the first time. Johnny says that he has this personality type largely if not entirely because he is diagnosed with ADHD and, he suspects, OCD. “A lot of people with my [type of] brain are more likely to get addicted to drugs and alcohol,” Johnny states. He believes that creating, owning, and expanding his brand has strengthened his commitment not to drink or use drugs.

In addition, creating and marketing a business is not something particularly new to Johnny. He recalls that he has “always been a business type of person.” Starting when he was around 14, Johnny innovated several different business ideas; he recalls a time when he would sell tee shirts with “motivational” sayings on them. He would also make positive, inspirational-intentioned videos and post them publicly.

Besides the above-mentioned reasons, Johnny says that he didn’t and doesn’t need alcohol to have fun. “I’m very outgoing, and I’m the life of the party so I don’t need alcohol to make me more outgoing or to enjoy myself… I could already do that without it.” Johnny says that he was so energetic and in the center of attention that “most people thought [he] was the drunk one anyways.”

Johnny has a few goals with the brand beyond what was already mentioned. He says, “I want to make it as big as I can.” He further explains, “I want to just give back and hopefully buy my parents a nice house one day, because of all the work that they’ve done for me.” Johnny appears mostly focused on short-term growth and operations for the business. In general, he hopes to increase his reach and sales.

More can be found about Always Sober and Johnny Berry at the brand website, alwayssober.com. Johnny also has social media accounts on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok, as business or personal accounts. These can be found through the above-mentioned website.

Note: The author of this article does not necessarily endorse Always Sober, but is rather reporting on the arguably inspirational and influential story of the identified individual, Johnny Berry, and his business.