Greater Vancouver’s first ‘booze-free bottle shop and beverage room’ opens

Click to play video: 'Beverage lounge goes alcohol free'
Beverage lounge goes alcohol free
A new business has opened its doors in the Lower Mainland, hoping to cash in on a growing trend in North America away from alcohol. Alissa Thibault has the story of a lounge where getting a drink doesn't mean what is used to – Nov 25, 2023

A B.C. business that keeps its customers’ thirsts quenched with non-alcoholic beverages has officially opened its doors.

Bevees, which is located in Port Coquitlam on Lougheed Highway, opened on Friday and features more than 300 specialized alcohol-free drinks. It has the largest selection of booze-free drinks in the Lower Mainland.

“Soda pop and water are no longer your only options when you want an alcohol-free drink,” Bevees staff said on its website. “And gone are the days of non-alcoholic wine that tastes like grape juice, and alcohol-free beer that tastes (bad).”

On Saturday, the booze-free beverage room provided samples for Benjamin Bridge Piquette Zero, Lautus Savvy Red, Undone Jamaican Rum, and TOST wine beverages.

“It is a little intimidating (opening the business). I am not complaining, (as) we have gotten a lot of positive feedback and a lot of enthusiasm, so it puts pressure to deliver a good product but we are excited,” said Racquel Foran, who owns Bevees with her husband.

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Foran said it took about seven months from having the idea to opening their business.

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“We felt the pressure when we saw the industry was growing very quickly. We felt like it was the beginning of a major wave and if we didn’t jump on our surfboards and start paddling very fast, we were going to miss it,” she told Global News.

“I think the people that are looking for these products have been waiting for them.”

Click to play video: 'Health Matters: New drinking guidelines'
Health Matters: New drinking guidelines

Foran said her husband is not a big drinker but never had many different options to choose from in the way of non-alcoholic specialty drinks. They also read a news report on the budding industry which spurred them into action.

An award-winning non-alcoholic beverage company, Edna’s Non-alcoholic Cocktail Company, said it is also feeling a surge in the industry.

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“To be honest, you open a magazine or turn on the TV and it is a very hot topic, the non-alcoholic thing,” said Nick Devine, Edna’s Non-alcoholic Cocktail Company’s co-owner.

“(The popularity with different generations) has really opened the doors for non-alcoholic manufacturers like ourselves to offer good products.”

Edna’s Non-alcoholic Cocktail Company products are sold across Canada and the business is expanding into the United States.

The beverage room has a mixologist at the business every day, who shows how to create alcohol-free recipes for cocktails.

Foran said alcohol drinkers are more than welcome as traditional drinks containing alcohol can also be purchased, but the main focus is providing a wide variety of booze-free beverages.

Statistics Canada said overall sales of alcohol were down 1.2 per cent between 2021 and 2022, which is the first decline in seven years and the largest in more than a decade. Sales of wine and beer were down even more, by four per cent for wine and 2.8 per cent for beer. That is the largest decrease since StatsCan began tracking alcohol sales in 1949.

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