Nonalcoholic winery, bottle shop coming to Atlanta amid increased ‘sober curiosity’

Nonalcoholic winery, bottle shop coming to Atlanta amid increased ‘sober curiosity’
Published: Oct. 12, 2022 at 6:28 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Two innovative businesses in Atlanta are answering increasing public demand for alcohol alternatives.

Cory Atkinson, owner of Elemental Spirits Co. in Poncey-Highland, will open Atlanta’s first brick-and-mortar bottle shop without alcohol. The Zero Co. will sell alcohol-free beverages, from zero-proof gin and vodka to non-alcoholic rose and merlot.

Customers aren’t necessarily swearing off alcohol for good, but simply “sober curious.”

“It’s not just people in recovery or just pregnant women, or people who don’t want to drink,” said Atkinson. “It’s people who are exploring taking a night off, but not having something like fruit juice or soda.”

Atkinson currently carries a selection of about 200 nonalcoholic beverages at Elemental Spirits Co. He said interest has grown significantly over the last six months. Atkinson only carried three or four products without alcohol when he opened his shop two years ago.

“The amount of products we have has grown by about 1000% since we opened,” said Atkinson. “People can trust this is a solid made product it tastes good, and that’s something we haven’t seen in the past.”

Many zero-proof beverages are sourced from Europe, where Millennials and Gen Z lead the “sober curious” movement. Many young people cite health reasons for abstaining from alcohol.

The Zero Co. is slated to open December 1 down the street from Elemental Spirits Co. Atkinson estimates there are likely less than a dozen shops like it in the U.S.

“We grew too big for our britches here,” said Atkinson. “There’s lots of new products coming out, things we’re excited about. It’s cool to see the growth.”

Months after The Zero Co. opens its doors, Atlanta will also see its first nonalcoholic winery.

Karriemah and Anthony Muhammad are converting their Chattahoochee Hills property into Magnolia Crescent Orchard and Winery, the country’s first Black-owned nonalcoholic winery in spring.

“This is not just offering nonalcoholic products. It’s really a ministry of sorts. It’s allowing a safe bridge from peer pressure and narrative that adulting has to include alcohol,” said Karriemah Muhammad.

The couple was inspired to create an elevated, alcohol-free experience after visiting wineries in north Georgia with their children.

In the months leading up to the opening, the Muhammad’s serve samples of nonalcoholic wines and sparkling tea in Atlanta-area Market at Macy’s locations. They also host cake and sip events where people can try their products.

The couple believes these nonalcoholic options are filling a void in Atlanta.

These alternatives cut sugars and calories by about a third. They are safe for people on medication, receiving cancer treatment, or pregnant women.

A temporary reduction in alcohol can improve the immune system, sleep, mental health, and reduce risk for diseases like cancer.

“Black people in America suffer from the largest numbers of these types of ailments – these types of alcohol-related ailments,” said Karriemah. “There is a special need we have in our community. We have made it our responsibility to engage our community as well.”