Despite the parade of hard seltzers, craft beers, rosé ciders and boozy kombuchas that’s hitting the shelves at any given time these days, we’re actually living in a teetotaler’s paradise. Between artisanal the faux gins like Seedlip and hoppy non-alcoholic tall boys on the market right now, being the sober one at the party has gotten a lot more interesting as of late; the mocktails that make up a growing number of “zero-proof” menu options at the city’s hippest restaurants have never looked more appealing.
Is the glut of options a response to the growing number of sober-curious or health-conscious bev consumers? Or are the attractive no- or low-alcohol drinks spurring less drinking? It’s a chicken-and-egg Q to sip on, but either way: the global non-alcoholic beverage sector has grown 506 percent since 2015; and in the next six years, the non-alcoholic wine category alone is predicted to be valued at $10 billion. And the Vancouver-based “beverage curator” Sansorium has jumped into this burgeoning booze-free marketplace with both feet.
The online marketplace launched in September, the brainchild of mother-daughter trio Kathryn Hepher, Fiona Hepher (CEO and Creative Director) and Sarah Hepher-Tejuco. Kathryn’s got a background as a business advisor in tech, Fiona’s a branding pro (and founder of Aleph Eatery!), while Sarah brings experience in both the restaurant industry and healthcare. “We all came to a career crossroads earlier this year and decided this what we wanted to pursue,” says Fiona.
Their philosophy around sobriety and mindful drinking is “supportive, not prescriptive,” says Fiona. “We want to seek out things that make us feel good, without restriction or deprivation… but that doesn’t always require alcohol.”
Sansorium offers flat-rate shipping across Canada; the discerning sober beverage shopper can sift through wine by style, peruse apertifs and zero-proof tequilas, stock up on ready-to-drink mocktails and get them delivered in a few days.
But if you’re thirsty now, there’s good news: Sansorium’s running its first in-person pop-up market this Saturday (October 23) at Zoë Pawlak Showroom, with a curated selection of 100-plus bottles and complementary tastings. Think: award-winning European wines from Oddbird, Noughty and Pierre Chavin, Free Spirits bourbon, Nirvana Spirits craft beer and then some. Fancy an aperitif? The botanically-infused Proteau, available in Canada for the first time, might do the trick.
If you’re sober-curious or living a dry-and-fabulous lifestyle, it’s the chance to stock up on something far more exciting than a six-pack of zero-percent Becks from the grocery store. Can’t make it Saturday? Sansorium’s offering free shipping October 22 to 31 for online purchases (use code “FreeShipping”). We’ll raise a glass to that: cheers to an indulgent (and hangover-free) Sober October.
Sansorium Alcohol-Free Pop-Up
Zoë Pawlak Showroom
1675 W 2nd Ave., Vancouver
Saturday, October 23, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.