A Guide to Spirit-Free Bottle Shops - Imbibe Magazine Subscribe + Save

A Guide to Spirit-Free Bottle Shops

The alcohol-free category continues to thrive. Spirit-free bars and bottle shops are popping up across the United States, and curious consumers can now peruse aisles of zero-proof spirits, wine, beer, and RTDs. No more having to search through stores for the one dusty back shelf of NA options. Below are brick-and-mortar stores as well as online marketplaces that offer curated selections of the best spirit-free drinks.

Arizona

The Nixer (So)Bar (Phoenix) After Brad Bridwell quit drinking in June 2020, he explored the alcohol replacements he found online. He and his wife Tamara played around with their discoveries, creating drink recipes. Before they knew it, they were crafting alcohol-free beverages to educate the curious about new products. “We’re a little different from the few other operations in that we focus on the creation of new, creative, complex adult beverages that taste great in their own right but aren’t necessarily meant to taste like alcohol-based drinks,” says Brad. Currently, the Bridwells’ are serving drinks at their “So-Bar,” a converted horse/utility trailer. Their small online shop also sells some products, and they offer at-home delivery to Phoenix residents. Kin Euphorics, Three Spirit, and Bonbuz are their top sellers.

California

Brightlife Beverage Co. (Laguna Beach) Jonny and Natalia Cummings wanted to take a break from alcohol. As they searched for the best alcohol-free alternatives, they launched Brightlife Beverage Co. in September 2020. “We were amazed at the variety out there but also at the insufficient information to navigate the hundreds of products or availability via a single source,” says Jonny. “We thought maybe if we were searching for these options, others were, too. And we wanted to help reduce friction for others to find, learn about, taste, and purchase different NA beverages here in our hometown and online.” In May 2021, they opened what is the first spirit-free bottle shop in California. It boasts one of the largest selections in North America with more than 250 products.

“I’m working on the largest selection in the world.”—Joshua James, Ocean Beach Cafe

Ocean Beach Cafe (San Francisco) Owner Joshua James tried to get a beer and wine license when he first opened up his café and dry bottle shop last year. But when his zero-proof inventory sold out opening week, he decided to lean into the spirit-free movement. “Yes, I’m working on the largest selection in the world,” he says. “I might be able to accomplish this with the second location I’m currently working on which is a NA Speakeasy Lounge.” He currently stocks 50 brands. But the NA IPAs and sours are big sellers at his beach-adjacent store. For those who want to taste before they buy, James hosts tastings of his alcohol-free stock for $25 an hour.

Soft Spirits (Los Angeles) Surprisingly, in health-conscious LA, there’s currently only one nonalcoholic bottle shop. And it only just opened last October. “Our mission is to provide a premium selection of alcohol-free alternatives that will satisfy the ritual of enjoying adult beverages,” says owner Jillian Barkley. The Silver Lake woman-owned and -operated shop sells premium drink fixings in a setting resembling a parfumerie. Bottles of NA wine, beer, and spirits inject a bit of color into the light-filled room of white walls and shelves.

Colorado

Awake (Denver) After experiencing the health benefits (both body and mind) of going sober, Billy and Christy Wynne were delighted when the alcohol-free movement made its way from Europe to the U.S. “Speaking for myself, after 25 years of drinking, I was ready for a different way of being and this new trend and community made that much easier to embrace,” says Billy. In November 2020, the couple opened Awake, Denver’s first coffee and spirit-free bottle shop with a full-service nonalcoholic bar. The bottle shop—which stocks zero-proof wine, beer, spirits, mixers, and drink kits—also offers free delivery (for purchases over $100) in the Denver metro area.

New Jersey

Gem Bar Bottle Shop After launching her online well-being boutique and non-liquor bottle shop in 2020, co-founder Drew Davis realized that people actually needed to be able to interact with the bottles. Shoppers want to be able to touch, smell, and taste the drinks before buying. So she then opened her store in September 2021. Its inventory consists of high-quality beverages made by small startups as well as women-and BIPOC-owned companies. “We started to search high and low and found companies like Mingle Mocktails, Curious Elixirs, Aurora Elixirs, Sweet Reason, Ritual Zero Proof, Three Spirit, etc.,” she said. Gem Bar offers local delivery as well as shipping anywhere in the U.S.  

New York

Boisson (New York City) With five locations around New York City, local delivery, store pickup, and even nationwide shipping, Boisson is doing what it can to help facilitate the sober movement. It aims to only stock the best spirit alternatives, alcohol-free wine and beer, and adaptogenics found around the world. Currently they have close to 450 products. For those who want to make drinks themselves, the store also sells mixers, tonics, syrups, and even barware and glassware.

“We carry beverages for a sophisticated palate.” —Melissa Irisarri, Minus Moonshine

Minus Moonshine (Brooklyn) “We carry beverages for a sophisticated palate such as Acid League wine proxies, Solbrü elixirs, and For Bitter For Worse,” says co-owner Melissa Irisarri. They stock Coors and Heineken 0.0, too. The store, which opened last summer, also provides a community space for sober meetups, new moon meditations, and yoga. “We pride ourselves on being a safe space for the LGBTQ community as well,” Melissa adds. “As a non-binary individual, this was something that was very important to [co-owner] Apryl [Electra Storms] and myself as a mother of a child in the LGBTQ community.”

Spirited Away (Manhattan) Douglas Watters loved the ritual of making a beautiful cocktail for himself and his wife but not its effects. “So I began to experiment with a lot of the products that I now stock in the store and sell and still drink myself,” he says. He enjoyed the experience so much and figured other people would, too. So he opened New York City’s first dry bottle shop, which he quickly outgrew. His new larger store north of Little Italy is stocked with alcohol-free craft beer, spirits, wine proxies, mixers, and bitters. “We want to meet people where they are. And if someone wants to be completely sober and recovery, we want to help those people, too. We’re here for everyone,” Watters says. They currently offer in-store pickup and local delivery.

Oregon

Suckerpunch (Portland) What started as a temperance bar concept in 2020 is now a pop-up bar with a small bottle shop. It stocks zero-proof options as well as drink kits. The reservation-only pop-up is due to open next month. But look for the permanent location at the end of the year, according to Suckerpunch founder, Andy McMillan. The new space will continue to offer drink kits as well as alcohol-free spirits, beer, and wine. And if you’re not ready to do in-store browsing just yet, online ordering is available for curbside pickup. Or book a private tasting appointment where a bartender will taste you on some of the inventory.

Pennsylvania

Open Road (Pittsburgh) Mel Babitz started Open Road in January 2020 as a no-alcohol pop-up bar. “It came from wanting to normalize alternatives to alcohol,” she says. But when the pandemic struck and canceled her events, Babitz built out the website. She turned it into an online store and handled the local delivery herself. She can also ship to 43 states, with some restrictions depending on state laws. Initially, she favored canned beverages over bottled. Primarily because cans were easier to ship. “But also because I like beer. I was never a mixed drinks person,” she says. “I like the euphorics and CBD and everything that’s going on in the functional direction.” But this past year, she’s built out the spirits and wine sections. And Open Road carries about 230 unique products.

Texas

Sipple (Houston) Texas’ first dry bottle shop opened in October 2021. “And it’s been a nonstop wave of excitement with each month far surpassing our expectations,” exclaims Sipple co-founder Danny Frounfelkner. Located near Houston’s bustling historic shopping area, Rice Village, the shop features a curated selection of about 150 products. Tastings are offered to ensure shoppers are pleased with their picks. “Education is one of the most important aspects of the in-store experience,” says Frounfelkner. “Explaining what happens to flavor profiles when alcohol is removed, the different ways brands can achieve a nonalcoholic drink, what functional beverages are, how to go about making an unleaded cocktail with a nonalcoholic spirit.”

Online

Better Rhodes Daniel Stiller and Chris Becker founded this Scottsdale, Arizona–based online marketplace for alcohol-free beverages in April 2020. They wanted to show that going alcohol-free can be fun and accessible. The website offers nearly 350 products, subscriptions, and curated collections. But the sparkling wines are currently the hottest sellers. For those interested in trying something new every month, Better Rhodes offers monthly wine, beer, and cocktail subscriptions.

Dry Good Beverage Co. Opening an online nonalcoholic store is a surprising twist for cocktail book author Adrienne Stillman Krausz and second-generation vintner Jake Krausz. “We started to explore all the new products that were popping up and were completely blown away by the quality,” Stillman Krausz says. “At the same time, it can be hard to navigate the non-alcoholic space and find high-quality products that fit each individual palate.” Seeing an opportunity, they opened up the online shop in June 2021. The inventory is carefully curated with the duo tasting everything they sell and only carrying drinks they feel “deliver a delicious and authentic drinking experience ….” They focus on small-production offerings as well as those products packaged in glass or aluminum.

“From day one, our mission is to reshape drinking culture by normalizing not drinking alcohol …”—Payal Thaker, A Fresh Sip

A Fresh Sip Aishwarya Balaji and Payal Thaker started A Fresh Sip in December 2020 as an online resource for those exploring the alcohol-free lifestyle. A year later, they launched their online shop, which currently carries over 250 no-alcohol beverages, from spirits to functional drinks. And it ships nationwide. The site even categorizes the products by organic, vegan, gluten-free, and pregnant-friendly. “From day one, our mission is to reshape drinking culture by normalizing not drinking alcohol and giving people access to quality non-alcoholic options from all over the world in one place,” Thaker says.

No & Low What started in 2020 as a TikTok account that educated the sober-curious about the alcohol-free category blew up into an online store. Brothers Louis and Massimo Borrelli have made it their mission to search the world over for the best spirit-free options. And if it’s not available in the U.S., they will bring it over. “Since we were one of the first-ever online bottle shops in America, we have had the opportunity to be first or very early adopters for many brands like Empress … WilfredsThree Spirit, and more,” Louis says. “We’ve also got more coming, too. We’ll be introducing brands such as Caleno and Fungtn in the U.S. for the first time in 2022.”

Sèchey Charleston-based online shop Sèchey strives to offer mindful drinkers interesting and tasty alcohol-free options. Its virtual shelves are stocked with a curated selection of ready-to-drink beverages, wine, beer, and mixers. The indecisive can pick up samplers featuring luxe labels, bar basics, and craft beer. Look for a permanent brick-and-mortar location later this year.

The Zero Proof This web shop, which opened up in December 2020, currently features a selection of 70 products. Owners Trevor Wolfe and Sean Goldsmith constantly taste and add new bottles but are choosy about what makes it onto their virtual shelves. “We’re more concerned with having the right choices, not just more choices,” says Goldsmith. For those overwhelmed by the options, however, the team also packages together their favorite products, from wine bundles to Negroni kits.

Enjoy This Article?

Sign up for our newsletter and get biweekly recipes and articles delivered to your inbox.

Send this to a friend