Who said you needed alcohol to have fun? Or to enjoy a cocktail? Boisson (148 Bedford Avenue) is challenging that notion.
Boisson is a retail store started during the pandemic by two friends, Nick Bodkins and Barrie Arnold, who wanted to provide non-alcoholic options for others “in a welcoming, judgment-free zone that sparks curiosity.” The location and their website (which does nationwide shipping) is filled with a variety of products such as spirits, vermouths and bitters, or non-alcoholic beers and wines to barware. So you can make mojitos, margaritas, and all the faves in between — without the hangover.
Boisson has five NYC locations, all of which opened in 2021. They have plans in 2022 to open stores outside of NYC. The expanding and rapidly growing brand shows there is a desire amongst people for more non-alcoholic options.
Boisson’s online market account for 50% of their business. From “Dry Januarys” to “Sober Octobers,” people are looking for alternatives. According to NielsenIQ, non-alcoholic beverage sales have increased in 2021. In the last 12 months (in 2021), low-alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages sold $3.1 billion.
Born in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, co-founders Bodkins and Arnold, like many others, were reconsidering their drinking habits and well-being which led them to experimenting with non-alcoholic options. Boisson’s mission, Bodkin shared with Greenpointers, is to “remains steadfast in providing sophisticated sips to those abstaining from alcohol or just moderating, but are still looking to enjoy the social and satisfying experience of imbibing craft cocktails, wine, beer, and other effervescent elixirs.”
Sophisticated sips is a term Boisson coined and tags on all their Instagram posts. They want to remind people that enjoying the ritual of drinking without alcohol, whether in a group or by yourself, is still an act of sophistication. Drinking alcohol does not have to equate to being an adult. Bodkins mentions how Boisson offers more than water and the sugary drinks most would associate with childhood; they serve “truly adult beverages.”
“In a society where so much centers on drinking alcohol, it can take a re-education moment to reconsider what the act of drinking means for adults” said Bodkins.
While there are many “truly adult beverages”’ to choose from at Boisson, the de-alcoholized wines are Boisson’s most popular products. They come from all around the world — California, South Africa, Germany, and New Zealand. For the Williamsburg location, a ready-to-drink product called Phony Negroni is also very popular. The ready-to-drink product is made in Brooklyn at St. Agrestis distillery.
Boisson means drink in French which is what one will have or learn to make at their brick-and-mortar stores. They even have free tastings, and who doesn’t like free things?
Boisson is making non-alcoholic beverages just as fun and teaching others how to have fun too with recipes. And for folks who want to try hemp-infused and adaptogenic beverages and spirits, Boisson has them as well. Cheers!