Australia’s first alcohol-free bottle shop enters administration

In a bitter irony for alcohol-free bottle shop Sans Drinks, the business has entered administration during Dry July.

Non Alcoholic Drinks Co Pty Ltd, trading as Sans Drinks, was declared bankrupt on July 17, according to documents filed with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

Irene Falcone opened the alcohol-free bottle shop in Freshwater on Sydney’s Northern Beaches in May 2021, selling non-alcoholic wines, spirits and mixed drinks. In-house brands Sans Bar and Ms Sans also joined the selection on offer.

“We do have plans for six more stores in Sydney and 20 across Australia in the next three years,” Falcone (above) revealed in a video for Westpac at the time.

“I love being a disruptor – I love disrupting. And there’s nothing more exciting than opening up a non-alcoholic bottle shop right across the road from our friends at Vintage Cellars.

“I was in the paper the other day and there must have been 10 or 20 comments on there saying I was going to broke in a week.”

Falcone’s Freshwater store closed in November, while her second store at Warringah Mall closed last month.

Falcone told Daily Mail Australia her business “took a hit after being ‘attacked’ by supermarket giants. She claims that her idea was copied by major chains, and their sales of the same non-alcoholic drinks she stocked gave her stores no point of difference.”

“I was shocked at how fast Woolworths and Dan Murphy’s jumped on my idea. They jumped on it so fast, with so much gusto,” she said.

She said the wide availability of non-alcoholic wines and spirits in supermarkets damaged foot traffic at her stores significantly.

Falcone said she would normally see queues out the door of her stores during Feb Fast and Dry July, but not in 2023.

She is hoping an investor will come on board and save the business, which is still selling products online from its warehouse.

“There is genuinely a place out there [for a business] that specialises in non alcoholic drinks,” she said.

Millennials & men drive Dry July boom

A new survey has found 53% of Australian drinkers intend to participate in a dry period, with 70% of Millennials intending to do the same.  

The survey, carried out by YouGov on behalf of Giesen Wines, also revealed that Millennials have been at the forefront of exploring non-alcoholic beverage alternatives, with 88% having tried such alternatives, including non-alcoholic wine, beer, spirits, and mocktails (75% had tried non-alcoholic wine).  

Furthermore, Millennial men (89%) expressed a greater likelihood of having tried non-alcoholic alternatives, as well as consuming them more often than any other group (56%). Men were also twice as likely as women to be drinking more non-alcoholic alternatives than 12 months ago. 

Interestingly, almost one in three (31%) Millennials said that they typically drink non-alcoholic alternatives on a date night, which is significantly higher than for all other generations. Non-alcoholic alternatives were also more popular with alcohol drinkers than non-drinkers.

The survey indicated that 80% of alcohol drinkers have tried non-alcoholic alternatives, compared to 57% of non-drinkers. Of those who have tried non-alcoholic wine, one in four (25%) said they drink it very often and quite often.  

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Categories: Business