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The first dedicated non-alcoholic spirits shop in L.A. is here

After years of direct sales to consumers and limited distribution in specialty stores, the world of soft drinks has just received its first special factory in Los Angeles: Soft Spirits, a showcase on Silver Lake, located on a busy section of Sunset Boulevard. close to All day baby and Dayglow Cafe. The first non-alcoholic bottle store in Los Angeles, which opened on October 9, is ready to unleash a huge range of non-alcoholic spirits, plus mood-enhancing functional drinks in the mix for good measure.

Store owner Gillian Barkley – who has been sober for three years – hopes to guide the curious and uninformed through the vast sea of ​​ethanol-free entertainment drinks that have hit the market in recent years. At Soft Spirits, she is practically the first non-alcoholic sommelier in the city, with a select store of soft drink brands and a service-oriented focus on guiding customers in the right direction and answering questions.

“The more variety I can bring, the more people can understand the concept a little better,” Barkley said. The store originates from Fr. Instagram account she began while living in New York, where she would review pre-packaged drinks and cocktails available in the city. This search for substitutes is part of what prevented Barkley from drinking alcohol again on a regular basis.

Working in bars and restaurants at the college, she began to appreciate artisanal cocktails – drinks that “feel really elevated and elegant.” After a few years, Barkley found that drinking was more harmful than pleasurable, and decided to take a break. “It didn’t have to be a break forever, just until I wanted to drink next time,” she said. “That day has not yet come.”

The last half decade has seen the rise of sober-curious movement and the growing willingness to acknowledge alcohol for what it literally is: a formative habit known carcinogen s there is no safe level of consumptionaccording to a peer-reviewed medical journal The lancet. Despite the growing interest in reducing alcohol consumption or giving up completely, social rituals and celebrations built around alcohol live (yes, this includes in Waiting time), and non-drinkers do not necessarily want to be abandoned.

The abolition of alcohol is in line with the whole country the spread of functional drinks– which Soft Spirits also wears. They include Droplet and Bonbuz, both companies in Los Angeles, owned and operated by women. However, so-called adaptogenic drinks are not always attractive to some of the patrons of Soft Spirits. Those who are actively recovering from alcohol abuse or people who are pregnant (both major clienteles so far) usually they are not trying to consume drinks with mood-altering ingredients, Barkley said.

Photo: Time Out / Patricia Kelly YeoBarkley, second from left, assists a customer at the grand opening of Soft Spirits on October 9th.

Instead, she added, they tend to attract potential visitors who are curious about the store or functional category of drinks in general. To make it available for both functional and non-alcoholic beverages, Soft Spirits also sells individual canned beverages and four smaller sampling packs.

For those new to the soft drink category, Barkley’s current favorite functional drink brand is ready to drink. Curious elixirswhich are available in five different flavors. Among the eponymous “soft spirits” of the store, she is also passionate Root elixirsnon-adaptogenic mixer, which is available with floral aromas such as cucumber, elderberry and strawberry lavender.

With personal shopping, Barkley said he hopes to add a layer of expertise that users may not be able to gain from an Instagram advertising campaign or online store. Long-time experienced designer who helped assemble the Arts District Immersion Madkap Motel, She currently has no plans to import an online selection of Soft Spirits.

Seedlip, Kin, Three Spirits and Konbutz on the Soft Spirits shelf
Photo: Courtesy of Gillian BarkleyBottles with soft mixers on the shelf at Soft Spirits.

Although Soft Spirits is a store, not a community center, Barkley said she is excited to create a place where sober (and sober-minded) people can gather and feel included. In the near future, she hopes to use the store to hold monthly tastings and other events to build unanimous relationships between consumers.

“So far, it has been really exciting to communicate directly with people and find out what they are looking for and what their reasons are,” she said. “Everyone has a personal history or specific tastes.”



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