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The Craft

The ultimate resource for alcohol beverage news, trends and reports for bars, distributors and suppliers.

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  • by: Corey Hines
  • 4 min read

The Rise of the Booze-Free Bar

Each year gives rise to new trends in the beverage alcohol industry. Some are niche while others transform the wider industry, moving it forward in the process. With the increase in consumer adoption of non-alcoholic (NA) beer, wine and zero-proof spirits, and how respectfully, bars and restaurants have embraced the trending category, it’s no surprise that the first “booze-free” bars have already arrived. 

These alcohol-free establishments have begun to pop up in cities around the country — from New York City to Sacramento, California. No longer a taboo, bartenders have taken the emerging category to new heights, evolving beyond the standard mocktail to offering bar guests a culinary-like drinking experience on par with some of the best cocktail establishments in the nation. 

What’s driving the rise in the booze-free bar? To find out, let’s first look into the underlying cultural movement birthing these watering holes. 

Alcohol-Free Bars Are a Direct Descendant of Abstinence and Well-Being Trends

It's non-coincidental that alcohol-free bars have come onto the scene with the rise of conscious consumption. It's for good reason. Alcohol-free bars allow consumers to access the perks of nightlife that are not centered around consuming alcohol. They’re inclusive to those practicing sobriety as much as to those who are merely sober curious. 

Chris Marshall, founder of Sans Bar’s told AP News that “a lot of people just want to drink less.” 

Marshall, who has been sober for 14 years, opened Sans Bar after serving as an addiction counselor. But it’s not just for consumers who are sober. He estimates 75 percent of his customers also drink alcohol outside of his bar. 

Discover NA Beer, Wine and Zero-Proof Spirits on Provi

According to IWSR, alcohol consumption in 10 key markets — including the U.S., Germany, Japan and Brazil — fell 5 percent in 2021. Consumption of low- and no-alcohol drinks rose by 1 percent in that same time period.

Brandy Rand, chief operating officer for the Americas at IWSR Drinks Market Analysis explained to AP News that while sales of alcoholic beverages greatly rival sales of non-alcoholic beverages, global consumption of low- and no-alcohol beer, wine and spirits is growing two to three times faster than overall alcohol consumption. And in a recent NielsenIQ report, between August 2021 and August 2022, total dollar sales of non-alcoholic drinks in the US stood at $395 million, showing a year-on-year growth of +20.6 percent.

That increase is caused by an explosion of new NA beer, wine and zero-proof spirits entering the market. In the same report above, there were 72 new NA beer, wine and spirit products introduced to the market in 52 weeks' time (nearly 1.4 new products a week).

With so many new products for consumers to consume, it makes sense that a business can fill its entire back bar with plenty of alcohol-free options. Let’s take a look at some of the must-visit alcohol-free bars to visit across the country. 

10 Must-Visit Alcohol-Free Bars

Listen Bar | New York, NY

Wildcrafters | Jacksonville, FL

Getaway | Brooklyn, NY

Alt Bar | Rochester, NY

Sans Bar | Austin, TX

Bendición Dry Bar | Chicago, IL

Zero Proof Sober Bar | Sacramento, CA

The Nixer | Phoenix, AZ

Prazbar | Chicago, IL

AWAKE | Denver, CO

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