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Buzz-free bevvies: Inside Metro Vancouver's first non-alcoholic bar and bottle shop

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Port Coquitlam, B.C. -

A husband and wife team have opened Metro Vancouver's first non-alcoholic bar in a Port Coquitlam strip mall.

“This is a place where you can order a cocktail, a glass of wine, beer, sit down and socialize with your friends and just enjoy the space just like you would in any lounge or bar. We just don’t have any alcohol here,” said Racquel Foran, the co-owner of Bevees Booze-Free Bottle Shop and Beverage Room.

It also offers Metro Vancouver’s largest selection of bottled and canned non-alcoholic beverages for takeaway.

“There are literally thousands of non-alcoholic drinks. And I think that’s what the customers will be really surprised to see, all the different varieties that are available now, quality varieties,” said Foran’s husband and Bevees co-owner Jim O’Connor.

The couple had been looking to open a business for awhile, and came up with the idea after reading a news article about the growing trend of alcohol-free bars and beverage shops in Europe and the United States.

“We talked about it on a Friday night, and then 3 o’clock in the morning on Saturday morning, Racquel popped up and said, that’s it! Eureka! That’s our new business! And that’s kind of how it started,” said O’Connor.

Customers who sidle up to the bar can order the same cocktails they would find in establishments that serve alcohol.

“Everything from cosmos and gin-and-tonics to peach bellinis,” said Foran. “Anything you can find in an alcoholic form you can now find in a non-alcoholic form. So, that’s all your rum, gin, tequila.”

The alcohol-free cocktails made by the bartender at Bevees aren’t significantly cheaper than their boozy counterparts.

“They are comparable to the same prices you pay in a bar for a mixed drink. Because at the end of the day, we are really putting in the same ingredients in a mixed drink as you would a bar,” said O’Connor.

As for who’s buying, he says it runs the gamut from older people who’ve decided to give up alcohol for their health, those who don’t drink for religious reasons, and pregnant or new moms.

“Actually, we just had a lady came in and bought bottles of wine and didn’t want to drink because she had a newborn baby at home. And she finds it too rough taking care of a newborn if she’s got a hangover,” said O’Connor.

“We can see people coming in, having business meetings here, or maybe real estate agents who are meeting clients and alcohol isn’t appropriate,” said Foran. “It’s an alternative place to hang out to a coffee shop.”

The couple hopes by offering on-site tastings and cocktail mixing sessions, they can convince customers they can have all the taste of their favourite beverages without the booze. And Foran said unlike bars, the whole family is welcome, adding: “Our tagline is drinks for anyone, anytime.”  

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