Sans Drinks, Australia’s first non-alcoholic brick-and-mortar bottle store, is now open in freshwater


Sales of soft drinks in Australia are booming. Supermarket chains and bottle stores are expanding their lines to include alcohol-free alternatives to meet growing demand. Even recent photos of the next one Sex and the city reboot show Carrie Bradshaw – the world’s most famous cosmopolitan drinker – sipping an alcohol-free rosé. It was only a matter of time before a store dedicated to non-alcoholic drinks became a reality.

Sans Drinks, Australia’s first brick-and-mortar alcohol-free bottle store, opened earlier this year in Freshwater on the northern beaches. Founder Irene Falcone chose to open right across from a well-known liquor store – “Why would I do it any other way?” she says Large format – and it is a movement that is certainly paying off.

After launching as an online-only brand in early 2020, Sans is expanding to a second store in Rozelle before Christmas, and up to 20 new national locations are in the works over the next three years.

While last year’s lockdowns made many of us look the toughest, Falcone believes subsequent restrictions have altered people’s relationships with drinking.

“I find that people are just fed up with drinking alcohol,” she says. “They gain unwanted weight and they feel like crap.”

She has also noticed that most of her clients are not teetotalers, but rather people who are just looking to cut down. “It’s giving someone the placebo effect of something they love and appreciate and don’t really want to give up. I am here to provide consumers with better choices.

This is clearly a growing trend among Australians, but every retailer lives and dies by the quality of their product – this is where Sans Drinks has the edge over the local bottle-o chain. There is a range of non-alcoholic beers, wines, and spirits, including big favorites like Heaps Normal XPA and Lyre Gin, along with other boutique offerings from independent beverage companies. There’s the boundary-pushing Melbourne alternative, No, as well as Strangelove sodas, the locally sourced beer brand Sobah, and the alcohol-free Negroni spritz, “Whiskey” Sours and Palomas.

Falcone recommends English brand Thomson & Scott’s Noughty: a halal-certified sparkling faux chardonnay that, in its own words, “looks like champagne and tastes like champagne.”

Sans is soon set to move its shipments to a warehouse twice the size of its current premises, to meet demand, and has just launched same-day delivery options across Sydney, with Melbourne and Perth in pencil before the end of the year. Falcone’s enthusiasm for business is contagious – she also founded the multi-million dollar natural cosmetics company Nourished Life.

“There is an appetite for people; they are fed up with alcohol. It’s very exciting.”

Without Drinks
Boutique / 28, rue Lawrence, Fresh water

Mon & Tue 12 pm-5pm
Wednesday to Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sat 9 am-5pm
Sun 10 am-3pm


About Michael Brafford

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