Three cocktails or mocktails pictured on a countertop.
Spanning throughout the year but especially during "Dry January," the consumer desire for going alcohol-free and opting for mocktails is growing. — Getty Images/Catherine Falls Commercial

Dry January” is a growing movement during which participants pledge to forgo alcohol for all 31 days of the month. In 2022, 20% of adults in the U.S. planned to participate in Dry January, citing motivations such as cutting back on spending, improving their health, or losing weight.

Dry January may be gaining momentum, but stats show that for many, going alcohol-free isn’t limited to one month a year. According to research from Morning Consult, “40% of drinking-age adults said they’re drinking less than they were five years ago, and 43% of the public doesn’t drink.” New businesses are cashing in on these shifting attitudes toward drinking, including these entrepreneurs making a splash in the mocktail industry.

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Alt City Beverage Co.

Alt City Beverage was started in 2019 by two brothers, Paul and Chad Clark, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Launched as part of the city’s Downtown Market Incubator program, Alt City Beverage specializes in zero-proof spirits inspired by staple cocktails, such as the Paloma, Citrus G&T, and Moscow Fuel (a take on the Moscow Mule).

“I love seeing people’s reactions to the drinks,” Chad Clark told local media outlet MiBiz. “People will come back and double check that there really isn’t alcohol in the drinks because they are so good. To me, that is super cool.”

Alt City Beverage Co. recently signed a lease to open the city’s first non-alcoholic liquor store, demonstrating the market demand for mocktails.

Seedlip Spirits

Seedlip Spirits started small, but has grown exponentially in the past few years. It all started when founder Ben Branson asked for a mocktail in an upscale restaurant and was served something pink and sugary — a drink that neither matched his meal nor the occasion. This experience inspired Branson to found Seedlip Spirits, mocktails inspired by the 1651 book, "The Art of Distillation." Seedlip Spirits are herbal, botanical, sophisticated — and popular.

“Initially, [Branson] only sold it to restaurants, but his first batch sold out in three weeks, his second batch in three days, and his third batch in thirty minutes online,” reported Society19. “Branson has since expanded his tiny copper still and now sells straight to consumers so people like you and me get to enjoy his delicious creations!”

“I love seeing people’s reactions to the drinks,” Chad Clark told local media outlet MiBiz. “People will come back and double check that there really isn’t alcohol in the drinks because they are so good. To me, that is super cool.”

Little Saints

Little Saints cocktails aren’t just zero alcohol and zero sugar: they also contain active ingredients like CBD, reishi mushrooms, and terpenes – naturally occurring, mood-enhancing scents. Founder Megan Klein started Little Saints in Detroit in 2021 after realizing she was drinking too much alcohol during the pandemic. Klein wanted a mocktail that both tasted great and had functional benefits, so she turned to a book called "The Rebel’s Apothecary" for inspiration.

Today, Little Saints sells drinks like a Spicy Margarita, Negroni Spritz, and Mimosa, all sugar-free and filled with plant-based ingredients.

[Read more: How This Premium Startup Cocktail Brand Landed Nationwide Distribution from Whole Foods to Delta Airlines]

Mocktail Club

Founded by Pauline Idogho in 2018, Mocktail Club is a zero-alcohol line of mocktails inspired by travel. Idogho started Mocktail Club while she was expecting, and has since expanded the business to distribute with big brands like Whole Foods.

“I am originally from Nigeria and grew up in London – then moved to the US for college. As a result, I loved to travel and worked in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. All the different cultural experiences have shaped me and ended up being the springboard for a lot of the cocktail flavors,” Idogho told Latinas in Business.

Mocktail Club sources as consciously as possible, using organic suppliers for juice and sustainable packaging. Likewise, 1% of sales goes to Water For People, a charity that provides free and clean drinking water around the world.

Sóbrailté

Sóbrailté is Boston's first alcohol-free bottle shop. It was established during the pandemic by ​​Katie Manning, who says she quit drinking cold turkey after one too many binge drinking episodes. Sóbrailté offers not only mocktails, but also alcohol-free spirits (so you can mix your own mocktails) and wine alternatives. The store is online only with shipping nationwide and often participates in pop-up markets around the Boston area.

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Published January 06, 2023