Top Prices For Soft Drinks: Are Soft Cocktails Too Expensive?

I’ve had it for a little over a year abstain from alcohol. I had some during that time really sensational soft drinks in restaurants and bars and enjoying some soft drinks at home. For example, last weekend I enjoyed a refreshing, not too sweet, peach-Forward non-alcoholic drink while dining in a Mediterranean restaurant seafood Restaurant located directly on the banks of the Hudson River.

Whenever I open a menu and see a few non-alcoholic options, usually at the bottom of the list, I can relax my shoulders and feel a little security. Yes, they’re generally far fewer than their alcoholic peers, but that’s okay. I appreciate having options other than stale ginger ale or cranberry juice

Whatever the reason, they exist many people who do not drink alcohol at the moment, and the beverage industry is fast catching up on that fact. Industry data from NielsenIQa data analytics company, the non-alcoholic beer, wine and spirits market has grown by more than 20% in the past year and by more than 120% in the last three years.

The market for mocktails, or “non-alcoholic cocktails” and “zero-proof drinks,” as industry professionals like to call them, has grown in tandem with demand for non-alcoholic spirits — costing $9, $10, and sometimes $14 a drink. It seems that prices for non-alcoholic cocktails have also increased. In fact, I’ve heard a similar refrain in conversations with some friends and co-workers: why are soft drinks so expensive?

Now it’s probably worth noting that I personally haven’t felt bothered by soft drinks cocktail pricing. I’ve spent inexplicable sums on it real cocktailsSo if a non-alcoholic drink is $9, for example, I have no qualms paying for that while the alcoholic version is $17 elsewhere on the menu. For example, last weekend my soft drink was $10 while the alcoholic cocktails were all $18 and up.

This is the case with many bar programs, such as Russian restaurant at the Wildset Hotel in Maryland. General Manager Tanner Collins told me that the restaurants’ cocktails are $15, while soft drinks are $9. “Which I think is a fair discount since there’s no alcohol used in the drink,” he said.

To me? That makes sense. Still, I understand. Unless you’re going to buy the liquor in the first place, be wary of spending close to $10 on a drink juices, syrups, extracts, mineral water and the like. According to industry experts, however, there are some hidden costs and extra work involved in making alcohol-free cocktails that help determine the final menu price — and it all starts with alcohol-free spirits.

“Non-alcoholic beverages are often more expensive and time-consuming to produce than their alcoholic counterparts due to dealcoholization technologies [and] the difficulties of shelf stability without alcohol,” said Douglas Watters, co-founder of Dry Atlas And Magically gonetold me via email.

According to Amanda Blue, the President and Chief Operating Officer of the tasting alliancean organization that organizes and runs several international spirits competitions – these spirits are not just poor imitations of their alcoholic counterparts.

“[They] “Cannot be ignored and must be assessed through a lens other than average alcohol content,” Blue said in an email. “There are judges who now specialize in low and zero alcohol mixology and zero percent mixology that we use to set the standards and judging criteria.”

Then, at the bar or restaurant level, it takes a lot of craftsmanship to create an interesting, nuanced drink, whether it contains alcohol or not. Will Patton is the beverage director at Bresca in Washington, DC, where he says the restaurant’s “culinary cocktails” offer both approachable and sophisticated tastes.

“Rather than just making a mint soda, we want to add complexity as well,” he said. “In our Mango Collins we use a Bare NA Gin, which has a peppery note to add an extra dimension to a mango-ginger highball.”

(It’s also perhaps worth noting that a bottle of Bare NA Gin retails for around $40, while you can pick up a bottle of Hendrick’s for around $35.)

Chris Struck, Beverage Director at ilili NYCgoes into more detail on the pricing of non-alcoholic cocktails.

“Nobody should order something they are uncomfortable with at the price,” he said. “That’s why restaurants list prices for what they sell, so everyone can make the right choice for themselves and their budget. That fact doesn’t change the cost of the goods and services a restaurant sells in order to exist.”

Sophisticated, targeted drinks require work, skill and time – whether they contain alcohol or not – and of course the price should reflect this.

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Asking how much non-alcoholic cocktails should cost is an even more thorny question: should the value of a drink actually be based on how much excitement it can create?

Many professionals working in the non-alcoholic spirits and cocktails space believe it is time for us as a culture to redefine what constitutes a celebratory drink.

“We’re conditioned to evaluate spirits based on their alcohol content and associate it with a certain enthusiasm,” said Victoria Watters, the other co-founder of Dry Atlas And Magically gone, by email. “It’s about savoring complex flavors, enjoying shared experiences, marking the end of a long day, celebrating moments big and small, and more. Non-alcoholic spirits allow for these rituals without the disadvantages of alcohol.”

According to Blue, we’re already seeing spaces encouraging this type of indulgence as specialty dry bars and restaurants and zero-proof retail outlets continue to spring up across the country.

“New generations of drinkers want to be able to experience the social aspect of a drink without the adverse health effects of drinking too much alcohol,” she noted. For so many in the alcohol-free space, there is something special and meaningful that has drawn them there. Douglas Watters observed, “Most brands in this space have a deep why that drives them.”

Whether you’re excited to explore the world of soft drinks, stick with your usual offerings, or forego both altogether, make the choices that make the most sense for you, whether based on personal preference – vodka above rum, lime above lemon – or your bank account. Experience has shown that the presence of these non-alcoholic drinks can be immensely important for many guests and bar visitors. So if it is necessary to spend a little extra to be comfortable, for me it is definitely worth it.

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Tom Vazquez

Tom Vazquez is a USTimeToday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Tom Vazquez joined USTimeToday in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with Tom Vazquez by emailing

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