Douglas Waters opened spirited Away, a dry shop on the Lower East Side last November. The summer before, he had started examining his drinking habits and health, he said, and began experimenting with alcohol-free cocktails. He liked the result. “I loved maintaining the ritual and celebrating the end of the work day or accomplishment but without feeling bad the next day.”
Recently, Mr. Waters, 39, quit his job at Bank of America Merrill Lynch to work full-time on his business. Considered the first dry retailer in New York City, Spirited Away started with 70 products and now offers 140. Prices range from $7.50 for one person kin euphoricsUp to $75 for a bottle of caffeinated flavored spirits Rasasvada, a highly graded, plant-based “soul restorative”.
He has already outgrown his 200 sq ft shop. Next month, it will move to a store twice the size at NoLIta.
The alcohol-free cocktail movement seems to be following the development of craft cocktails. “People are sophisticated drinkers; They want different combinations of complex and interesting flavours,” said Mr. Waters. “The product variety has increased. So has the technology. Now there are steam or vacuum distillation and new technologies,” he continued. “This has helped open up the market. Help has come.”
minus moonshine, a self-described “dry drinks + drugstore” in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, opened in June. In addition to selling their wares, the co-founders, April Electra Storms and Melissa Irisari, both 41, host monthly meetups for groups like cool-curious parents and cool singles.
“Nondrinkers, like me, were ignored for so long,” said Eacks. Storm, which identifies as non-binary. “As a former chef, I have a passion for beverages. I just knew it was something I had to do with my life.”