Demand for non-alcoholic beer, wine, and spirits is soaring

If, like me, you've been practicing Dry January, or "Damp January", congrats, we're halfway there! And you're definitely not alone—at least judging by the growing market for non-alcoholic adult beverages. USA Today, citing data from Nielsen IQ, explains that in 2023, Americans spent $565 million dollars at retail stores on non-alcohol beer, wine, and spirits, which amounts to 35% more than the previous year, and comprises the biggest increase of any adult beverage category.

And that figure doesn't include what Americans spent on such beverages at bars and other venues. Many bars are offering more  options, and bars that serve only non-alcoholic drinks are also increasing in popularity. One of the most recent is Stay Zero Proof, which opened on January 12, 2024 in the Chinatown neighborhood of Los Angeles. LA Eater explains:

The idea behind Stay was to provide as much of the elements of a cocktail lounge experience, from the ambience to a full bar counter, but without any alcoholic beverages.

Bartender Derek Brown, who recently published Mindful Mixology about low-ABV and non-alcoholic cocktails, designed the menu around 12 specific drinks named for each of the Chinese zodiac signs. The Ox uses Kentucky 74 bourbon alternative with aperitif rosso, aromatic bitters, smoke, and ginger syrup for a striking presentation at the bar. The Rabbit mixes elements of an Old Fashioned with Lyre's Highland Malt, orange and chocolate mole bitters, ginger syrup and cherry while the Monkey blends Caleño dark & zesty with cola and aromatic bitters for a take on rum and coke.

The mocktails at Stay Zero Proof will run you from 18 to 24 dollars. I think they all look delicious, but the two that sound especially yummy are "The Tiger" (Free Spirits "Tequila" Alternative, Lime, Lapsang-Souchong, Pineapple Juice, Agave, Green Tabasco, Tajín Rim. Lime, smoke, and spice with a bite) and "The Rooster" (Our Tart Cherry Tonic, Apple Cider Vinegar, Sweetened Blood Orange, Ginger Syrup. Ginger heat with bubbles).

Until I get back to Los Angeles, though, I'll happily sip on some mocktails I found at my local grocery store. I'm particularly fond of this zero-proof Lime Margarita from Recess, which I found on sale at Sprouts.

For folks doing Dry or Damp January–keep up the good work!