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Australia's First Alcohol-Free Bottle Shop

The Sans Drinks Freshwater store was the first alc-free bottle shop in Australia.

In May 2021 I opened Australia’s first physical bottle shop, in Freshwater, Sydney. From the moment I got the keys to the premises my customers have been right behind me; people were so keen they were even popping in to say hi before the store officially opened.

Sans Drinks media clippings

Where did the idea for Sans Drinks come from?

When I first stopped drinking alcohol, just over two years ago, I went into a bottle shop to pick up some alc-free beers, the person behind the counter looked at me like I was crazy. It was the same look that I got 10 years ago when asking for a natural deodorant, which is why I started Nourished Life. I knew straight away that there was a need for a store that specialises in high quality, grown up drinks that happen to be alcohol free. I started planning Sans Drinks the next day.

Why did you open a physical shop when you already had a thriving online store?  

Yeah! First alc-free bottle shopWhen I first opened the online store, I had no intention of opening a physical shop. But I soon discovered that my customers wanted to have face-to-face service. Everyday customers were visiting my warehouse to ask questions, sample products and browse the shelves. It was obvious that there was a market for a physical shop and I was thrilled to be the person to make it happen.

The Sans Drinks store on Lawrence Street, Freshwater

Is it true that there is a traditional bottle shop right across the road?

Yes! Some people have called it a bold move and others say that I’m cheeky, but the truth is that I wanted to make a statement. The shop isn’t a gimmick – I am here to disrupt the liquor industry. Having a physical shop shows that alc-free drinks are a serious offering and the line of customers out the door shows that the trend is here to stay.

What has the reaction been?

Irene Falcone is disrupting the industry The reaction has been amazing. People travel from all over greater Sydney to visit the shop, I’ve met customers from Penrith, Leichhardt, Bondi and Sutherland. Visiting the shop is a different experience to shopping on the website, people can browse the shelves, ask questions, and even sample some of the drinks. I’ve also found that customers like to talk to each other – there is always a great atmosphere!

Sans Drinks - Essential AF

What’s next?

The success of the flagship shop has shown me that there is a market for alc-free bottle shops. One day I hope to have a store on every major high street. In the short term though, I plan to open 10-20 stores across Australia in the next three years.

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