The increased availability and diversity of non-alcoholic beverage options in Australia has coincided with a cultural shift away from drinking as the norm, and a broader conversation about the pressures and stigmatisation that can often surround non-drinking. This shift has seen the rise of a new breed of breweries and distilleries dealing in non-alcoholic beers and spirits.
In April, Melbourne-based distillery Brunswick Aces will take this one step further with the launch of Australia’s first permanent bar to cater specifically to non-drinkers. The aim of the 150-capacity venue in Brunswick East, Melbourne is to give people a place to socialise without alcohol, while still offering a “traditional” bar menu of drinks and cocktails.
The alcohol-free menu will span beer, wine and spirits, and will feature classic cocktails such as the negroni, Tom Collins and espresso martini reinterpreted for a non-drinking audience.
“Not a fruit mocktail in sight,” says co-founder Stephen Lawrence.
Drinkers will still be catered for, with the single option of a gin and tonic – a nod to the long history of non-drinkers having limited options in traditional venues.
The bar area of Brunswick Aces is currently being fitted out, and the venue is slated to open its doors in late April. Already the Brunswick Aces team has plans to expand the non-alcoholic bar format into other state capitals such as Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide, as well as overseas to New Zealand, Dubai and Singapore.