This upcoming holiday season, many glasses raised in Hollywood could be filled with spiritless spirits. Stars are entering the adult soft drink market with their own brands; sales increase significantly in the $395 million sector (up 20.6% between August 2021 and August 2022, according to market research firm NielsenIQ); and a growing list of celebrities are talking about booze-free, sober and sober lifestyles (Ben Affleck and his wife Jennifer Lopez, Anne Hathaway, Chrissy Teigen, Drew Barrymore and Kit Harington among them). Society’s focus on wellness, fueled by the pandemic, is also driving demand.
“We are at the beginning of a new era of social consumption”, trumpets Christopher Lackner, co-founder of Jeng, a maker of alcohol-free, CBD-infused canned cocktails (including a Jeng & Tonic and a Paloma). “Now that there are high-quality alternatives, it’s no longer difficult or embarrassing to be sober. In fact, it’s a real treat. » Producer Jennifer Klein (from the upcoming Everest) served the company’s Moscow Mule cocktails at its annual party in Brentwood last year.
Far beyond OG beers like O’Doul’s and Clausthaler, new non-alcoholic offerings include premium spirits, wine, bitters, mixers and pre-mixed cocktails dressed in vibrant, designer packaging. Famous names that have entered the space include Bella Hadid, co-founder of Euphoric Kin, a line of drinks that blend adaptogens, herbs, nootropics (cognitive enhancers) and mild caffeine to calm or energize; and Katy Perry, co-creator of Wine-inspired Self sparkling drinks that mix juices, herbs and mushrooms. Justin Bieber, Leonardo DiCaprio, Taraji P. Henson, Barbie Ferreira, Lori Harvey and Tommy Dorfman are all fans of Kin Euphorics, while CAA is an investor in De Soi.
Across Los Angeles, a number of soft drink stores (which look like hipster liquor stores at a glance) are popping up. gentle spirits debuted at Silver Lake a year ago, while The new bar opened this summer at 1821 Lincoln Blvd. to Venise. A Syrah wine de-alcoholized by the London company Nasty is a best-seller at the latter.
Since debuting in 2021, New York-based soft drink retailer beverage, which offers more than 125 brands, has rolled out six locations in New York, one in San Francisco and three in Los Angeles — in Brentwood, Studio City and, most recently, Beverly Hills. The company will soon be unveiling its own non-alcoholic white wine Boisson Blanc ($16).
Among the brands sold at Boisson are those in downtown LA amass (counting Derek Jeter as an investor) making Rivertine a non-alcoholic option with a gin-like profile; and free spiritsa Marin County company that offers premium non-alcoholic alternatives to bourbon, gin and tequila infused with B vitamins. Emmy Award-winning composer Blake Neely (The stewardess) has free spirits on hand at her Cow on the Wall studios to sip during recording sessions, while producer Holly Wiersma (Billionaire Boys Club) recount THR that when she entertains, she sets up a “dedicated Free Spirits bar with craft cocktails because so many people aren’t drinking anymore”. Free Spirits will add non-alcoholic vermouth in 2023, followed by ready-to-drink cocktails.
Other non-alcoholic brands worth noting include little saints, which layers CBD, botanical terpenes and reishi mushrooms in its Mimosa, Spicy Margarita and Ginger Mule mocktails; and based in Chicago Ritual Zero Proofco-founded by novelist and screenwriter Marcus Sakey (good people). The latter entered the market in 2019 as an “alcohol replacement”, now with gin, whiskey, tequila and rum options.
NA brand based in downtown LA Optimistic Botanicals, launching in 2021, with flavors that channel vodka (Bright), tequila (Smokey) and gin (Fresh) with a fourth Amaro drink landing later this month. Optimist Botanicals is the top-selling non-alcoholic spirit at upscale grocery-café Erewhon, according to the company, and is served at hotspots including Gold-Diggers, The Hollywood Roosevelt, The Britely and Proper Hotels.
DJ and wellness entrepreneur Hannah Bronfman invests in Ghia, a Los Angeles-based non-alcoholic aperitif brand inspired by Mediterranean culture that makes citrus drinks and bitters like its Le Spritz from herbs, fruits and roots. Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Jenna Lyons and chef-restaurateur Daniel Boulud all sip Ghia, which debuted in June 2020.
Another recent libation launch came from Portland in the form of a brand of non-alcoholic ready-to-drink cocktails. For the bitter for the worse, whose concoctions include her bubbly aperitif Eva’s Spritz; Saskatoon, a replacement for pinot noir; and the Smoky No. 56 which is reminiscent of whisky.
For many customers, these drinks offer sophisticated libations that bring part of the culture of the cocktail world to life, all without the alcohol or side effects.
Shelley Elkovich, co-founder of For Bitter for Worse, says: “I can tell you that a top actress ordered 36 bottles of Eva’s Spritz while pregnant and another well-known name ordered our drinks in emergency with an overnight expedition to his penthouse in Greenwich Village. ”
A version of this story first appeared in the Nov. 9 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.