NZ's first alcohol-free pop-up bottle shop opens its doors

Source: 1News

New Zealand’s first alcohol-free bottle store has opened its doors for people who fancy a tipple with friends, but without a hangover and a sting in the pocket afterwards.

Curious AF Bottle Shop’s Lisa King told Breakfast she founded AF Drinks after she “decided to take a break from alcohol” at the start of 2020 after suffering from vertigo while drinking gin and tonics and “found there were very few good adult options”.

The pop-up store, located in Auckland's Ponsonby, offers 34 alcohol-free products, as well as its award-winning AF Drinks range.

“We wanted people to have incredible, sophisticated, delicious drinks and can still socialise and go out with friends but doesn’t always have to be with alcohol," she said.

King said she was motivated to recreate an alcohol-free gin and tonic after quitting alcohol but missing its taste.

“We went to a flavour house and got them to use just natural flavours to develop the complexity of a G and T.”

She said there is also “something special” in AF drinks which they call “afterglow”.

“It’s a natural heat extract and it gives you a little kick at the back of your throat and a warming sensation like alcohol does.”

King said the drinks can help lessen the stigma around choosing not to drink.

“We all know that we could probably all do with drinking a little bit less and especially since Covid, people are making more positive lifestyle choices around reducing or moderating their alcohol consumption and so it is odd that we still feel like we have to justify it to people.

“It just gives you really credible choice; you don’t feel like you’re having just a juice or a soft drink and kind of relegated to the side.”

The store is open until the end of July.