Buzz over non-alcoholic drink shops on Vancouver’s Commercial Drive

Buzz over non-alcoholic drink shops on Vancouver’s Commercial Drive

The craft beverage scene in Vancouver is undergoing a shift, with a growing demand for non-alcoholic options. This trend is being driven by a combination of factors, including increased awareness of the negative health effects of alcohol, a desire for healthier lifestyles, and the emergence of high-quality non-alcoholic beverages.

Non-alcoholic Drink Shops

One of the key figures in this movement is Doug Steven, co-owner of The Drive Canteen, a Vancouver store specializing in convenient and delicious non-alcoholic selections. Steven, who himself has a history of alcohol dependence, highlights the transformative power of these new options.

“One of the few things that made me think I could quit alcohol really easily… is the oddbird Blan to Blanc,” he says.

“This is exactly like what I drank back in the day.”

The Drive Canteen isn’t alone in catering to this growing market. Mocktails, Vancouver’s first exclusively non-alcoholic liquor store, opened in March 2024 and has been experiencing overwhelming customer response.

“The feedback has been incredible,” says the store owner.

“People are excited… They’re driving in from Richmond and they’re driving in from Tsawwassen.”

This surge in demand reflects a broader cultural shift. Canadians, according to Steven, have a “much healthier relationship with alcohol than I do who just want to kind of fold something in just to keep it very tame and to try to match those Health Canada guidelines.” In January 2023, the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction issued new guidelines recommending reduced alcohol consumption. This focus on health aligns with the growing awareness of the negative impacts of alcohol on both physical and mental wellbeing.

The success of businesses like The Drive Canteen and Mocktails underscores the potential of this market. Steven emphasizes the importance of creating a dedicated space for non-alcoholic options: “If we can establish this area as your non-alcoholic destination… I think that it’s only going to kind of emphasize that this is a really great neighborhood to go and see what’s out there and what can be done.”

This shift in consumer preferences presents exciting opportunities for the beverage industry in Vancouver. As the demand for high-quality, flavorful non-alcoholic drinks continues to rise, we can expect to see even more innovative products and businesses emerge, catering to a new generation of health-conscious consumers.

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