With More Zero-Proof Beer, Wine, and Mixed Drinks Than Ever, Dry January is Gaining Year-Round Appeal

A proliferation of booze-free speakeasies, bars, and bottle shops are gaining momentum and contributing to a shift in generational drinking habits.

Selections from Boisson, an alcohol-free bottle shop with locations in New York and L.A. Credit: Boisson.

Millennials are well-versed in the dichotomy of the New Year’s Eve rager and Dry January, but increasingly, the non-sober crowd is experimenting with periods of abstinence throughout the year. Mocktails, elixirs, and other non-alcoholic libations have been part of the movement to drink less, or at least drink mindfully for some time now—back in 2020, we charted the rise of such DTC darlings as Kin Euphorics, Artet, and Mad Tasty.

“Millennials have shown more interest in partaking in wellness-oriented activities rather than beer-pong basement competitions,” we said at the time. “This generation is more concerned with health than our forefathers were; going sober is no longer related to being a recovering alcoholic—it’s about living better.”

These days, the booze-free bar and retail scene is largely driven by people with more flexible attitudes driven by mindfulness about their drinking habits rather than an all-or-nothing idea about alcohol. New York City is a hotbed for the movement. Boisson, which sells alcohol-free wines, spirits, aperitifs, and alternative spirits (pictured above) has locations in six of the city’s well-heeled neighborhoods and has been cropping up in Los Angeles. At Sèchey, which recently expanded to New York City from Charleston with a booze-free shop and speakeasy, founder Emily Heintz told the Financial Times that “around 80 percent of the clientele … don’t consider themselves sober.”

At Le Paon qui Boit (pictured), owner Augustin Laborde stocks over 400 non-alcoholic beverages.

Everyone knows Americans love a trend, but the modern-day temperance movement has even reached the wine mecca of France. According to the Guardian, France is one of the “fastest-growing no-alcohol markets,” largely thanks to increasing interest from Gen Z. Augustin Laborde, the owner of France’s first alcohol-free wine cellar Le Paon qui Boit (pictured), sources over 400 kinds of beverages to appeal to his growing customer base. Like Heintz, Laborde estimates that 80 percent of his patrons still drink alcohol, “but they’re interested in alternating with alcohol-free [drinks].”

The alcohol-free movement has even penetrated the fortified world of fine dining. Back in the states, Curious Elixirs’ line of zero-abv cocktails has graced the venerated menus of Cote, Daniel, and French Laundry. Curious Elixirs even operates a Brooklyn speakeasy, Club Curious. Meanwhile, non-alcoholic craft beers have become a fixture at taprooms like Brooklyn Brewery, Talea Beer Co., Gold Star, and Athletic Brewing, which operates the nation’s only boozeless taproom.

“Before, people didn’t want to openly say they didn’t drink, now they’re going into shops to ask for alcohol-free products,” Sober Spirits founder Calixte Payan told the Guardian. “France is recognized worldwide for its alcohol—fine wines and champagnes—and it could also become recognized for its alcohol-free drinks. There is still work to be done, but people like us are trying to give consumers the best experience possible.”

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