The no-booze movement is here to stay. Australians have been consuming alcohol in record low numbers (at least, before the pandemic) and the industry is finally adapting. Zero-proof options are now better – and more abundant – than ever before. And Perth local Sarah Rusbatch is bringing them all together in one place for your convenience.
Her new online store, Free Spirit Drink Co, which she runs with friend Adrian Allier, is entirely dedicated to alcohol-free drinks. It’s the culmination of Rusbatch’s own journey to sobriety: when she moved to Perth from London with two small children, she found herself in a new city and often alone while her husband was working. And wine became her friend. Four years ago, she took a three-month break from the bottle, which led to her cutting back on her alcohol consumption until she quit altogether a couple years ago.
“Up until now, there have been so few options for non-drinkers,” Rusbatch tells Broadsheet. “Alcohol is so prevalent in society. I know my life is so much better without it. Yet I still want to go out and have a drink that isn’t sparkling water.”
Seeing a gap between what she saw on the shelves back home in the UK – an early leader of the no-proof movement – and what was available in Perth bottle shops, she wanted to give sober drinkers more choice.
The online shop, which launched earlier this year, features a curated selection of non-alcoholic beers, wines and spirits that can be purchased individually or as tasting packs. “Our mixed packs are made for people to enjoy a variety of bottles; you don’t have to buy a whole case of a wine you haven’t tried before.”
Brands include familiar names such as Big Drop, Heaps Normal, Sobah, Lyres and Seedlip, plus non-alcoholic vermouth alternatives by Palermo, a whisky-esque dark spirit from Glen Dochus and a solid range of non-alcoholic wines.
Rusbatch and her small team sample every product they sell and promise there’s no “fizzy grape juice” here. “People want good alcohol-free options that taste like an adult drink without loads of sugar.” With this in mind, many brands have less sugar than standard alcoholic drinks on the market.
Free Spirit Drink Co delivers drinks directly to your door, or via a click and collect option (pick-up is from its Booragoon warehouse).