Douglas Watters opened Spirited Away, a dry store on the Lower East Side, last November. The previous summer, he had started examining his drinking habits and his health, he said, and started experimenting with mocktails. He liked the results. “I loved keeping the ritual and celebrating the end of the workday or an achievement but not feeling bad the next day.”
Recently, Mr. Watters, 39, left his job at Bank of America Merrill Lynch to work full time on his business. Considered the leading dry goods retailer in New York City, Spirited Away started with 70 products and now carries 140. Prices range from $ 7.50 for an individual can of Kin Euphorics, caffeine-flavored spritzes, to $ 75. $ for a bottle of Rasasvada, a top-of-the-range, plant-based “restorative” product.
He’s already outgrown his 200 square foot store. Next month he will be moving to a store twice the size in NoLIta.
The non-alcoholic cocktail movement seems to follow the evolution of craft cocktails. “People are savvy drinkers; they want different combinations of complex and interesting tastes, ”Mr. Watters said. “The diversity of products has increased. Technology too. Now there is steam or vacuum distillation and new techniques, ”he continued. “It helped open up the market.
Minus Moonshine, a self-proclaimed “dry drink + potions store” in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, opened in June. In addition to selling their products, co-founders Apryl Electra Storms and Melissa Irisarri, both 41, host monthly get-togethers for groups such as sober and curious parents and sober singles.
“Non-drinkers like me have been ignored for so long,” Mx said. Storms, which identifies as non-binary. “As a former chef, I have a passion for drinks. I just knew it was something I was supposed to do next with my life.