First non-alcoholic bar to open in Melbourne

Melbourne-based distillery Brunswick Aces has announced the launch of the city’s first permanent non-alcoholic bar to help normalise drinking in moderation. 

It follows Sydney’s first non-alcoholic bar, Apples@Manly, opening on the city’s Northern Beaches last year.

Set to open late April 2021, the new 150-person capacity venue on Weston Street in Brunswick East will offer a dedicated space for non-drinkers to enjoy an extensive list of specially curated drinks and cocktails. Every section of the drink menu will be designed to cater for non-drinkers, from beers and wines, to the distillery’s signature 0% alcohol gin alternative, Brunswick Aces Spades Sapiir and Brunswick Aces Hearts Sapiir.

Recent data from IWSR (“No- and Low-Alcohol Strategic Study 2021”) shows that the no/low category within the beverage alcohol market is set to grow by 31% over the next three years. 

CEO and Co-founder of Brunswick Aces Distillery, Stephen Lawrence (pictured main, middle) said: “We’re turning the traditional bar on its head. The demand for quality non-alcoholic drinks has been increasing year on year across the country, so the time is right for an offering that puts those choosing not to drink first. Our customers tell us that some premium bars and restaurants have started to put real thought behind their alcohol alternatives, but the wider industry is taking longer to catch up.

“We want to lead the charge by opening The Brunswick Aces Bar and deliver delicious non-alcoholic choices that don’t compromise on taste. Everything we serve will be 0% alcohol, with our contemporary cocktail list designed to thrill any palate, and not a fruit juice mocktail in sight.”

The menu will feature a host of sober takes on classic cocktails, like the Negroni, Espresso Martini, Tom Collins and the simple G&T, as well as a range of premium beers and wines from around the world. With Brunswick Aces being stocked at premium bars and restaurants nationwide, and with domestic travel not returning to normal any time soon, the team will also be looking to bring a taste of these venues to Brunswick East by recreating the drinking experience from venues including Wickens at Royal Mail Hotel and Firedoor.

With the bar area currently being fitted out (interior mock-up above), the team has also been busy installing the distillery equipment into the new premises. This means once the bar is open, patrons will have a front row seat to watch the operation in action, as they sip on their drinks made with sapiir created mere feet away. 

The Brunswick Aces ethos is to make everyone feel welcome, so alcohol drinkers won’t be left out, they will have the single option of a gin and tonic, created using the brand’s two Brunswick Aces Spades Gin and Brunswick Aces Hearts Gin blends. The owners described it as a “cheeky nod to the long history of non-drinkers not properly being well catered for in traditional venues”.

With moderate drinking on the rise internationally, the team intends to expand the non-alcoholic bar format into state capitals – Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide – over the next two years, as well as the international markets they export to – New Zealand, Dubai and Singapore. 

The team will be announcing more updates on the venue closer to launch, stay up to date via their Instagram @BrunswickAces.

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