Boozeless bars and clear-headed cocktail companies are mixing up alcohol alternatives

With booze consumption declining, businesses are catering to people who enjoy drinking culture but don’t want to drink.


May 14, 2019

With beer sales in decline, businesses are concocting booze-free drinks at nonalcoholic bars and in direct-to-consumer virgin cocktail kits.

Sobriety is suddenly… stylish?

At Getaway, a boozeless Brooklyn-based bar profiled by the BBC, clean cocktails look just like their boozy brethren — and carry similarly sobering $13 price tags.

Across the US, booze-free bars are becoming popular, and even normal bars are making money off of mocktails. Separately, startups like Kin offer craft cocktail kits that are “all bliss, no booze.” 

These companies are unabashed about re-creating an alcoholic atmosphere: Kin manufactures the “buzz without the booze,” and Listen Bar replicates “rowdy vibes” with “drinks, not draaanks.”

Replicating bar culture, without the drinking

The percentage of adult drinkers in the UK recently hit a 14-year low, and the number of people willing to pay big bucks for nonalcoholic cocktails is on the rise at high-end restaurants. 

So some of these stylishly sober startups are less focused on sobriety’s health benefits… and more motivated by market opportunity. 

“Nothing about our space says you should be sober, or you shouldn’t go around the corner to another bar and do a tequila shot after hanging out here,” Sam Thonis, the co-owner of Getaway, told the BBC.

Daily briefings, straight to your inbox

Business and tech news in 5 minutes or less

Join over 1 million people who read The Hustle

Psst

How'd Bezos build a billion dollar empire?

In 1994, Jeff Bezos discovered a shocking stat: Internet usage grew 2,300% per year.

Data shows where markets are headed.

And that’s why we built Trends — to show you up-and-coming market opportunities about to explode. Interested?

Join us, it's free.

Look, you came to this site because you saw something cool. But here’s the deal. This site is actually a daily email that covers the important news in business, tech, and culture.

So, if you like what you’re reading, give the email a try.