NEW YORK - They look like bottles of wine and liquor but the bottles and cans on offer at Spirited Away are all booze-free.
"The idea came from my enjoyment of these spirits, and I thought it was hard to find them," said owner Douglas Waters, who opened Spirited Away on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in November.
It seemed like a risky move during a pandemic that's literally driven people to drink, in some cases nearly 20% more, according to one study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
But Waters saw an opening.
"It's a little bit of a crazy time to open a new business but I do think it's a time, or this year has been a time when a lot of people are reconsidering habits," Waters said. "And for me, drinking less was one thing I was considering — and I don't think I'm alone."
Spirited Away is New York City's first zero-proof bottle store. Waters said he's been well received, especially coming off of "Dry January," when many people try to jumpstart their new year's resolutions by ditching alcohol.
Martha Duke, a member of the local Sober Mom Squad, is just glad to finally have a store like this to shop at.
"A lot of people are examining their relationship with alcohol," Duke said. "And these alternatives aren't something that was around when I got sober three years ago, so I'm definitely excited."
Get breaking news alerts in the FOX 5 NY News app. Download for FREE!
The offerings range from bitters and sodas to alcohol-free chardonnays and virgin marys — a little something for everyone, even those who do drink.
"It's nice to include people who don't want to have a drink by adding to your bar cart a few nonalcoholic options," Waters said.
Spirited Away is offering delivery just to the local area downtown for now but hopes to expand in the coming months.
Spirited Away | 153 Ludlow Street, New York, NY 10002 | spiritedaway.us