Booze-Free Fun

A Brooklyn pop-up bar bills itself as “all bar, no booze."
A café, known for its signature cocktails,  introduced a hand-crafted line of non-alcoholic options.
Non-alcoholic spirits are finding traction. 

Williamsburg’s Listen Bar founder Lorelei Bandrovschi became frustrated with a nightlife that implies drinking by default. She decided to create a space built for the not-drinking experience, rather than leaving it as an afterthought. 

listen bar

“We’ve carefully crafted every aspect of the experience – from what’s on the menu, to how you interact with bartenders, with the people around you, and even how the bar makes money," she said. "Typically, when someone is out without drinking, all those topics become sources of unnecessary tension. Here, we’re smoothing all that away, to give people the fun, casual experience we all crave from a great bar.”

The Listen Bar menu features signature cocktails, priced from $10-12, with quirky names like Leather Daddy and Ghost Me Maybe. It aims to curate the best alcohol-free brands, from heavyweight Seedlip to the new, buzzy Kin Social Tonic. The menu is created by Eamon Rockey, with drinks by Jack McGarry, Pam Wiznitzer, Aaron Polsky, Julia Momose and Chockie Tom. Going beyond the typical bar process, Bandrovschi also enlisted the help of herbalism and nutrition experts to create an inventive menu that speaks to different customers.

So why “Listen Bar”? Rather than alcohol, Listen Bar puts music at the center. Every bartender is also a full-time musician – not only slinging drinks but curating the bar’s rowdy playlists of mostly local and under-the-radar tunes. “It’s like a mixtape you can walk into,” Bandrovschi says. “You can have a drink with the people behind the music, bond over shared influences, and walk out with a new favorite song.” 

The #ListenBarVol1 pop-up, located at 109 S 6th Street, is opening from Wednesday, Oct. 24 – Saturday, Oct. 27, just in time to close out #SoberOctober. Located at 109 S 6th Street.

Razzoo’s Cajun Café, the famed home of the Hurry-Cane, now offers a hand-crafted line of non-alcoholic options as well.  These new libations, top photo, launched at all 21 Razzoo’s locations in Texas and North Carolina.

Watermelon Mint Fresca

“We wanted to take the same quality ingredients and fresh flavors we bring to our hand-crafted cocktails and share them with our guests who choose not to imbibe,” explained Razzoo’s Chief Operating Officer Garret Brooks.  “These offerings have the same fun presentation and sense of celebration as any of our featured drinks.”

Featured specialty drinks include:

  • Watermelon Mint Fresca
  • The Passionate Palmer
  • Peach Thyme Spritzer
  • Fresh Squeezed Blackberry Lemonade
  • Tableside Abita Rootbeer Float

Each of the specialty drinks will be available for lunch and dinner for $4.95 each.

The aformentioned Seedlip, refers to itself as the world's first distilled non-alcoholic spirits brand and says it is "dedicated to championing nature's ingredients and pioneering a new NA [non-alcoholic] category to solve the 'what to drink when you're Not drinking' dilemma." Whole Foods Market and Bristol Farms were just added as new retailers and due to demand in the U.S. market from both the trade and public, the London-based company opened a U.S. headquarters, based in Culver City, California.

Seedlip Garden 108 and Seedlip Spice 94

According to founder Ben Branson, Seedlip created a coveted bespoke maceration, filtration and distillation process for each ingredient that takes six weeks. The two spirits [Spice 94, Garden 108 and most recently Grove 42] boast zero calories, are sugar-free, allergen-free and contain no artificial flavors and provide a complex base whether served with mixers or in NA cocktails. Launched in 2015 from the founder's kitchen and is available across 20x cities, served in 7/10 best cocktail bars in the world, over 250+ Michelin * star restaurants and sold in over 6,000 accounts globally. 

Earlier this year, CEDER’S, a premium brand contains all the flavours of gin, without the alcohol, launched. Hand-crafted and available in 50cl bottles, CEDER’S is exclusively working in partnership with Pernod Ricard UK to bring the brand to market. The range includes three flavours: CEDER’S Classic (akin to a classic gin, mostly juniper but with floral hints), CEDER’S Wild (juniper combined with ginger, clove and rooibos) and CEDER’S Crisp (juniper combined with citrus, cucumber and camomile). Created by husband and wife entrepreneurs Craig Hutchison and Maria Sehlstrom, CEDER’S is a combination of Swedish style and pristine water, with wild and rare South African botanicals, found in the Cederberg mountains of the Western Cape. 

Craig Hutchison, Founder and Managing Director of CEDER’S, said “We are proud to launch CEDER’S and have realised our ambition to create a hand-crafted alt-gin with natural botanical distillates and extracts. We want to satisfy those looking for a non-alcoholic serve without sacrificing premium and sophisticated flavour experiences. My wife and I came up with the idea after discovering a magical valley in the Cederberg mountains and we are excited to partner with Pernod Ricard UK to bring CEDER’S to market.” 

Laurent Pillet, Managing Director for Pernod Ricard UK, added: “This is a growing and exciting area for Pernod Ricard UK and we are delighted to offer our customers and consumers a non-alcoholic gin alternative. It’s our ambition to continue to give consumers more choice and to satisfy the growing demand for no alcohol options.” 

The Dry Drinks company launched the first in a series of alcohol-free products, starting with 'Smashed Hops – Soft Beer' and 'Smashed Apple – Soft Cider', (both of which are 0.05% ABV).

The Dry Drinks Company Rethinks Drinking With Launch of New Alcohol-free Drinks

Both brands are designed to 'disrupt' and 'challenge' the non-alcoholic drinks & soft drinks markets by creating new social drinking alternatives where products become recognised as premium, socially positive & desirable alternatives to alcohol on specific occasions. 

Commenting on the market opportunity, Managing Director Richard Clark said:

"The UK consumer is drinking less alcohol but is increasingly active in the rapidly changing out of home channels. Directly linked to our changing more balanced lifestyles & leisure time is a growing demand for premium non-alcoholic drinks for when drinking alcohol is not appropriate. 'To optimise in this significant market gap, The Dry Drinks Company' has created products that bring together the fun, sociability & refreshment cues of soft drinks with the provenance / heritage of alcoholic equivalents – who would have imagined that in 2018 approx. 50% of consumers aged 18-45 would drink less than once a week." (ONS – March 2018).  

To achieve an authentic taste both products have been developed from beer and cider, which has been brewed using the company's own unique recipes, with top quality English hops, barley & apples. The beer and cider have then been de-alcoholised using innovative technology which captures aromas and flavours at a lower temperature than standard extraction technologies; producing a much higher quality end product – cleaner – more refreshing & moreish. 

Both products are Vegan friendly. An alcohol licence is not required to sell these products and already they are being listed in independent outlets and trialled by a number of national pub and leisure chains; a trend that is destined to increase as people are increasingly 'Rethinking their Drinking!'