Minus Moonshine in Prospect Heights looks very much like a regular neighborhood liquor store from the outside, even offering familiar drinks like beer, wine, whiskey, and gin—but all of the offerings here are non-alcoholic.
Co-owner and beverage enthusiast Apryl Electra Storms opened the shop last summer to fill a need in their own life. “I’ve quit drinking on and off over the last 20 years—sometimes for years at a time—but I always go back because I miss the flavor, the taste of wines and whiskeys specifically.”
After quitting alcohol again in 2021 for Dry January, Apryl took a deep dive into the world of non-alcoholic beverages. They were thrilled to find a number of spirit alternatives, pre-mixed dry cocktails, even wine.
“Of course, I wanted to try everything,” they said. “But it was really hard to source everything… I had to go into the city a lot and I like to stay in Brooklyn when I can, and there wasn’t anything in this area. I wanted to create a place with all of my favorite beverages and I just wanted to share them with other people!”
Among the most popular items at the moment are the non-alcoholic wines, which Apryl describes as “very dry and actually good tasting.” Other faves include an Aperol alternative, a number of dry cocktail mixes, and flavored spritzers which supposedly “boost clarity and focus” during the day. There are also some popular nightcaps, intended to mellow you out.
These spritzers and nightcaps, along with a number of other “mood-enhancing” products, include ingredients like CBD, valerian root, tryptophan, reishi mushrooms, 5-Htp, kava kava, and even caffeine.
“A lot of these new nonalcoholic beverage companies are owned by women,” Apryl explained. “Typically and historically the food and beverage world has been dominated by men, and it’s great to see a lot of these new businesses owned by women, especially queer women,” added Apryl, who are themselves non-binary. They went through their shelves, enthusiastically pointing to product after product from women or queer-owned businesses.
And their customer base is quite broad and doesn’t consist of any single demographic. “It’s everyone that you could possibly think of. All ages, all types of people. Obviously in the neighborhood, we have a lot of parents, a lot of pregnant people and lots of tired parents who want to drink but can’t be drunk because they’re responsible for small humans.”
In fact, the majority of their customers do drink alcohol, but are perhaps looking for ways to slow down a bit. “Maybe drinking nonalcoholic gin and tonics during the week and then switching to alcohol on the weekend,” they said, adding that some people will start with nonalcoholic options before having a glass of wine, or even mix a nonalcoholic bourbon with a regular bourbon to create a lighter drink.
Apryl’s tips for anyone looking to quit or slow down their drinking: “Drink what you love. If you love whiskey, try a nonalcoholic whiskey, if you love wine, try a nonalcoholic wine. But don’t limit yourself to just trying one brand, because just like in the alcohol world, all of these different brands make different tasting versions of the same thing.”
And just like the alcoholic world, many of the prices are in line with their alcoholic counterparts, ranging from a $2 bottle of beer to a $56 bottle of botanical aperitif.
Minus Moonshine also hosts a number of regular tastings and events, mostly on weekends, including meditation groups and sober and sober curious parents meet-ups, queer friends meet-ups, and singles events.
Minus Moonshine is at 433 Sterling Place in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn
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