Liquor store 0.0

Alcoholvrije slijterij

World of Nix is ​​the first alcohol-free liquor store chain in the Netherlands. Not all branches were successful, but: "All figures indicate that interest in alcohol-free is only growing."

"I'm looking for a red wine," says a British man of about thirty who enters World of NIX in Amsterdam's Jordaan. Saleswoman Denise Mansvelt walks him to the wine shelf at the back of the store and lets him taste a small glass. “Not bad,” he says. "Can I try the Merlot as well?" Only after three wines does it become clear that he does not realize that he is in an alcohol-free liquor store and is looking for a wine with alcohol. He leaves the store laughing.

That happens often, says Frederike de Groot (44), one of the two founders of the first alcohol-free liquor store chain in the Netherlands. There is a comparable small chain in the United States, there is one non-alcoholic liquor store in Berlin and also in Paris.

World of Nix looks like any other liquor store - except for the word 'alcohol-free' on the awning. There is a wall full of 'spirits', a shelf full of 'wine' (with the text 'it's always wine o'clock' above it), refrigerators with special beers and a table full of zero point zero cocktail packages to give as gifts.


De Groot and her business partner Wim Boekema (43) opened their first liquor store - then still under the name Nix & Nix - in 2021 in Haarlem. This was followed by the store in the Jordaan and one in Tilburg. There has been one since the beginning of November
second branch in De Pijp in Amsterdam.

In Amersfoort they closed the liquor store after one
year. They are also gone again in Leiderdorp, Heerhugowaard and Nieuwegein, where they opened temporary stores. De Groot: ''We have tested the demand for alcohol-free products over the past two years with short-term contracts. You have to run a certain volume to make the store profitable.
run and that didn't work everywhere."

De Groot and Boekema were linked three years ago by a mutual acquaintance. She worked for more than ten years in the marketing and retail department of cosmetics brand Rituals. He was an investment banker, including in London. They both toyed with the idea of ​​starting something for themselves. De Groot: "We started thinking: what trends are there, what can we respond to?" They both saw something in non-alcoholic drinks. According to the Trimbos Institute, in 2022 16.2 percent of all adults in the Netherlands would drink non-alcoholic beer or wine at least once a month. In 2020 that was still 13.1 percent. "All figures indicate that interest in alcohol-free is only growing."

The subject also played a role in their own lives. De Groot: Wim and I were in the same phase: a busy job, young children, a full social life. We wanted to feel fit after a party or dinner, because the next time we had to be back on the sports field at eight o'clock.” But drinking less proved difficult. ''Alcohol-free was a dusty category. And always being at a party with a spa or cola didn't feel festive. Why wasn't there a cool cocktail? Or a nice wine?''

So there were, they soon discovered. ''We started looking into what was being produced worldwide. We had absolutely everything we found sent to us. Then we started tasting, tasting, tasting. In addition to many bad, dirty drinks, there turned out to be high-quality non-alcoholic wines and spirits."

They already knew that there was alcohol-free beer of a high standard. ''Beer is enormously ahead of all other drinks. Also in terms of sales: of all beer sold in the Netherlands, almost 10 percent is now alcohol-free. For wine and spirits that is only 1 percent.'' Beer plays a small role in their liquor store. "Most people just buy that in the supermarket, we want to show what else is happening in the field of alcohol-free."

Non-alcoholic wine is the most difficult category, says De Groot. ''In 90 percent of the cases, it is first made with alcohol, after which the alcohol is extracted. Some of the flavor is lost. But the technology to preserve it has improved enormously in the past few years." The alcoholization process makes alcohol-free wine a lot 'leaner' than regular wine: it contains about 18 calories per 100 milliliters - regular wine contains alcohol 82 to 96 calories.

''People come in and say: I like to drink a full, fat chardonnay, do you sell that? We certainly have chardonnay wines, but you won't find a one-to-one copy of your favorite wine here. It doesn't work that way. You should not compare alcohol-free wine with wines that have been aged in oak barrels for twenty years.
have matured. That is a completely different category, this segment has only just started.
You have to look for a new favorite.”


The taste of spirits is quite easy to imitate with spicy herb combinations, says De Groot. Alcohol-free gin is one of the best-selling products in the liquor store. The one from the Danish brand ISH, for example, made with coriander and chili pepper seeds.

Such a gin is actually a kind of meat substitute, intended for people who cannot say goodbye to their favorite drink. According to De Groot, young people more often choose something that is not an imitation of an existing one
drink. ''Sparkling teas are on the rise. And elixirs: drinks made from botanical herbs.” For example, the drink with valerian from Three Spirits, which you drink before going to bed with an ice cube. At 29.99 euros for half a liter, this is immediately the most expensive bottle in the store. Most wines cost between
8 and 15 euros. You pay around 25 euros for a bottle of 'gin'. The price of a bottle of gin with alcohol starts at around 16 euros.

World of Nix mainly sells small brands. De Groot holds up a bottle of wine: Gnista Red is on the label. ''This is from a young Swedish woman who wanted to drink less wine, but could not find a good alternative. She has been brewing in her own kitchen for years. It is one of the few wines in the range that is not made by extracting the alcohol from a 'real' wine, but by mixing herbs that approximate the taste as much as possible.

Since October, Ron Gastrobar – Ron Blaauw's Amsterdam one-star restaurant – has had a special alcohol-free menu, put together by World of Nix. And anyone who orders risotto at Rijks, the luxury restaurant of the Rijksmuseum, is recommended a sparkling tea from the non-alcoholic liquor store. De Groot: Restaurants come to us for advice, because their customers demand more and more
more towards non-alcoholic drinks.” World of Nix also has an alcohol-free cocktail bar that they use at company parties and festivals.

Last October it was announced that the Goeie Grutten impact fund is investing in World of Nix (the amount is not disclosed).
brought). De Groot and Boekema started with a starting capital of 750,000 euros, raised from investment fund 033 Ventures and private investors. There are now six of them at the office in Amsterdam.

They do not share how high the turnover is, but they do say that most of the liquor store's customers are between 35 and 50 years old. De Groot: ''They choose alcohol-free for medical reasons or because of their religion. And every week there are women standing here whispering that no one knows they are pregnant yet. But most of the customers
consists of flexi drinkers who, for health reasons, no longer want to open a bottle of wine every day with dinner, but still drink alcohol at the weekend."


De Groot and Boekema recently received an email from a woman who wanted to thank them because her father no longer drinks a bottle of rum every evening since he discovered World of NIX. ''You have no idea how left out I feel
felt," wrote a student who is not allowed to drink due to medication. "I'm surrounded by drinking people every day."

Dry January is a peak month. In December, World of Nix also expects to sell many promotional gifts – in addition to around 5,000 bottles of fake champagne. "More and more companies do not consider it inclusive to give alcohol as a gift," says De Groot.

She hasn't been drinking at all for a year and a half. '''When we first started I was still flexi. Now I don't miss alcohol anymore. If I occasionally taste a sip from my husband, I have to get used to that strong alcohol taste again."