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A look inside Sobr Market, Canada’s biggest non-alcoholic bottle shop

It’s 1,600 square feet of zero-proof beer, wine, spirits and ready-to-drink cocktails

By Liisa Ladouceur| Photography by Nicole and Bagol
A look inside Sobr Market, Canada's biggest non-alcoholic bottle shop

At first glance, this brand-new two-level bottle shop on Richmond Street West looks like a boutique LCBO, with colourful bottles and cans of beer, wine, spirits and cocktails lining the shelves. The only difference is that there’s no booze in any of them.

Instead, at Sobr Market, all of the drinks for sale are zero-proof. At 1,600 square feet, it’s the largest non-alcoholic bottle shop in Canada, and it’s stocked with a cornucopia of options for anyone who is abstaining. There’s beer, aperitivi imported from Italy, a whole wall of rosé, and a wide selection of low-cal ready-to-drink mocktails and functional beverages backed by celebs like Bella Hadid (Kin Euphorics) and Zayn Malik (Mixoloshe). “The first response we get when people walk in is always, ‘I can’t believe there’s so much stuff!’” says Taycia Chaplin, Sobr’s co-CEO.

Sobr Market co-CEO Taycia Chaplin
“I always have a bottle of non-alcoholic wine in my house,” says Chaplin. “I still drink alcohol, but in moderation. During the week, do I want to have a glass of alcoholic wine every night? Not really. But I can have a glass of zero-proof wine and still enjoy that ritual, that relaxing habit, without having a hangover the next day”

Sobr opened in late April after a successful pop-up last fall. It took over the space in the historic Waterworks Building that was previously home to Beatrice Society, a wellness-focused café and bar where Chaplin and John Baker of (Boxcar Social) first connected with Shane and Jessie Halliburton, co-founders of Sobr Market in Winnipeg. They all recognized the need for more and better non-alcoholic products—in other words, not just Perrier or super-sugary mocktails—as well as for education. That’s why there’s a stocked bar where customers can sidle up to learn about what’s on offer and sample the drinks. Hot tip: Wine Wednesday means a free glass of wine.

The bar at Sobr Market in Toronto
A sign on the bar at Sobr Market

“We offer taste-testing because it’s important to us that people leave with something they really like,” says Chaplin. “There’s a lot of variety in flavour profiles, and people need to try a bunch to see what they enjoy—so we let them.”

There are more than 500 products at Sobr Market’s flagship Richmond Street location—and none of them are Perrier. Take a look around.

A sample of some of Sobr Market's most popular non-alcoholic wines
Here’s a sample of some of Sobr’s most popular non-alcoholic wines: Allay’s functional cabernet sauvignon from Washington State ($35); Grüner Weiss, a dry white from Studio Null ($45); Ones+ sparkling rosé from BC’s Okanagan valley, made from merlot, malbec, pinot noir, syrah and cabernet franc grapes ($27.50); Joyus’s cabernet sauvignon, the most award-winning non-alcoholic red wine out there ($40); and Prima Pave’s sparkling Blanc de Blancs, produced in northern Italy ($35)

 

A selection of rosé wine at Sobr Market
Here’s that rosé wall we mentioned

 

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Bottles of non-alcoholic red and white wine at Sobr Market
And some red and white bottles

 

Zero proof spirits including Kentucky 74’s non-alcoholic bourbon, Dhōs Gin-Free gin, A Cut Above’s Agave Blanco tequila and Myth Dark Spiced rum
There are zero-proof spirits for every taste: Kentucky 74’s non-alcoholic bourbon ($50), Dhōs Gin Free ($45), A Cut Above’s Agave Blanco tequila ($50) and Myth’s spiced dark rum ($40)

 

A selection of non-alcoholic rum, bourbon and whisky
For the non-drinker who prefers brown liquor, a selection of non-alcoholic bourbon, rum and whisky

 

A selection of non-alcoholic beer at Sobr Market, a bottle shop in Toronto
Some of the non-alcoholic beer currently on offer, including big brands (Birra Moretti, Guinness, Carlsberg) and some smaller ones (Sober Carpenter, Drop Bear, Mash Gang)

 

Functional spirits that boast brain-boosting nootropics and adaptogens for stress release include drinks for winding down at the end of the day, such as Kin Euphonics’ Dream Light, Nightcap by Three Spirit and Pathfinder’s Hemp and Root amaro
Functional spirits, which boast brain-boosting nootropics and adaptogens for stress release, include drinks for winding down at the end of the day, such as Kin Euphonics’ Dream Light, with mushrooms and melatonin ($55), and Nightcap by Three Spirit, which transforms tree saps and aromatic plants into a warm, woodsy bedtime sip ($50). Other elixirs, such as the Pathfinder’s hemp-and-root amaro ($50), evoke old-time apothecaries

 

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Bottles of non-alcoholic amari at Sobr Market
Here’s more amari, for anyone who likes a slightly bitter or herbal non-boozy drink

 

Combine Pentire’s Seaward, a zesty botanical spirit with a can of Grapefruit and Pomelo by Avec for a non-alcoholic paloma
A non-alcoholic paloma is an easy-breezy summer drink. Combine Pentire’s Seaward, a zesty botanical spirit ($50), with a can of Grapefruit and Pomelo by Avec ($5), which is flavoured with hints of black pepper and vanilla

 

A selection of Sobr Market's grab-and-go non-alcoholic drinks
Sobr’s grab-and-go drinks are ready for your next backyard barbecue or park picnic—you don’t even need to hide them from the city’s alcohol by-law police

 

Shelves lined with bottles of non-alcoholic wine and Sobr Market
Did we mention they carry a lot of wine?

 

A look inside Sobr Market, Canada's biggest non-alcoholic bottle shop
A look inside Sobr Market, Canada's biggest non-alcoholic bottle shop
A look inside Sobr Market, Canada's biggest non-alcoholic bottle shop
A look inside Sobr Market, Canada's biggest non-alcoholic bottle shop

Sobr Market, 511 Richmond St. W., thesobrmarket.com, @thesobrmarket

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