Looking for non-alcoholic spirits in Utah? Buy here

IIt’s summer, when backyard gatherings under the lights of a bistro can include glasses of rosé, chardonnay or a platter of mint juleps. But this year, you and your guests might want to try zero-proof versions of your favorite drinks.

If so, you won’t be alone. According to a recent CNBC Article, the trend towards non-alcoholic consumption is on the rise. “Non-alcoholic beverage sales increased 33.2% over the past year, with total sales of $331 million. Non-alcoholic beer and cider sales increased 31.7%, but more specifically, sales of non-alcoholic spirits increased by 113.4% over the same period,” the article states.

Answering the call for zero-proof drinks, Curiosity bottle shop and bar recently opened on the outskirts of downtown Salt Lake City. It serves a growing community of like-minded souls interested in the social pleasures of sharing spirits, wine and beer, without the effects of alcohol.

“A lot of people have expressed a desire for a place like this for so long and didn’t feel like they had options or places to go where they felt fully accepted,” says Raegan Plewe, co-owner by Curiosity with Erica Bruin. . “Many people have chosen not to drink for various reasons: pregnant women, people who have been sober for ten years or sports people who do not like to drink because it affects their sports performance. I think people often feel lonely when they’re in that state where they don’t want to drink anymore. It was really cool to see how common it is and how much of a community there is around it.

Bruin thinks conversations about alcohol and how we consume it have always been quiet. “People don’t really want to talk about how much alcohol they drink. I think it’s good to change that,” she says. “Let’s make it a normal conversation.”

Zero-proof drinks aren’t just for people who never drink alcohol, Plewe says, they’re for people who want to explore a healthy relationship with alcohol and socializing. “Utah is so polarized on alcohol. There’s not a lot of in-between,” she says. in black and white. It’s about providing another option for people to choose to explore different things.

Curiosity first launched its bottle store, where customers can choose from a variety of zero-proof options, including spirits, beer, wine, sparkling drinks and nootropic drinks. Bruin explains that alcohol substitutes (in products like whiskey, gin, and mezcal) are made the same way as their full-proof cousins; they are simply distilled to zero proof. “They don’t always taste the same as a traditional drink, but they come close — and some really do,” Bruin says.

Alongside alcohol substitutes in the spirits section of Curiosity, there are also some interesting surprises, like Spice 94 Seedlip. This distilled infusion includes allspice, oak, green cardamom, cascarilla, grapefruit and lemon. Or there’s Optimist Smokey, a distilled botanical spirit with tasting notes of bonfire, bittersweet and spice.

“These complex bottles are presented as a spirit would be, but they are really complex on their own,” says Plewe. “The ones that I really like tend to be more bitter. In general, our wall is not geared towards sweetness [flavors]. It is more complex, grassy and bitter. There is a range – some sweet, some not. But we were trying to stay away from that because we don’t want to be seen as a soda shop. There are enough sugary drinks for people who don’t drink. Not everyone who doesn’t drink alcohol wants something super sweet. We were trying to find the most interesting, unique and complex flavors possible.

As for nootropic drinks, Bruin explains that they are in their own category. “I wouldn’t consider them alcohol substitutes. They are more like a fizzy plant-based drink with brain-boosting benefits, things that will energize you or calm you down,” she says. “There are beneficial vitamins or herbs that will give your brain the nourishment it needs to function at a higher level.”

The bar side of Curiosity, which opened this month, is a very intentional part of Bruin and Plewe’s mission. “We thought, ‘Why don’t we make it a full experience? A social experience where people can taste what we sell, get a really good idea of ​​what they can do with these products, and explore what it means to hook up without alcohol late at night? Said Plewe. “There is so much creativity and beauty in going out late at night. I was interested in the kinds of connections possible if you don’t consume something that dulls your senses, but if you consume something that actually heightens your senses.

Curiosity’s bar service includes a mixed drink menu, tasting boards (think hummus and raw vegetables, chocolate and fruits, cheeses, and more), and specialty coffees and teas. Mixed drinks include traditionally-inspired zero-proof cocktails and an “elixir” menu that incorporates nootropic drinks. “Our theme explores taste in a very sophisticated way and fully tells the story of the ingredients,” says Plewe.

Curiosity may be the first zero-proof bottle shop and bar in Salt Lake City, but its owners hope to be the catalyst for a larger trend. “About a week before Raegan and I teamed up, I had been thinking about names for what I thought was just a bottle shop,” Bruin explains. “Months before I had read a book called ‘Sober Curious’ and the word ‘curious’ came to mind… It’s just about being curious about the taste and drinking something different while socializing. I coined the phrase “same social habits, different ingredients” early on, and it stuck with us.

Plewe says some local bartenders have visited Curiosity for inspiration to improve the soft drinks on their menus. “It’s exciting for me,” she said. “I always like to go to fancy cocktail bars, but I tend to be disappointed with non-alcoholic drinks. They tend to be really sweet or heavy in juice and not as complex as other cocktails on the menu that contain alcohol. I’m glad other bartenders are inspired by it, and I hope they start selling a lot of products so it’s more normal.

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