After a long weekend in Miami, Sean Goldsmith was exhausted.
He was living in New York City at the time, and had just left a 10-year career in finance. After the events of the weekend in Miami, he decided to take a small break from alcohol. But that small break eventually turned into four years and counting.
As he realized that this break from drinking might turn out to be something more long term, he became aware of how hard it is to find unique, non-alcoholic options.
“I’m a lover of food and wine, my family business is restaurants,” Goldsmith said. “Early on, when I saw that this was turning into me not drinking anymore, I knew that I was going to need more interesting options.”
Shortly after Goldsmith quit drinking, his high school friend Trevor Wolfe did the same.
“We started a blog out of personal interest,” Goldsmith said. “We wanted to talk about these products that we saw on the market … from a different perspective, kind of more of a lifestyle play as opposed to what at the time was a conversation dominated by, you’re in recovery or you’re not.”
The blog, called The Zero Proof, started to pick up steam. Now, it’s a non-alcoholic marketplace. On The Zero Proof’s website, you’ll find a slew of non-alcoholic spirits and wines, bitters and syrups, barware, recipes, articles, and a host of other information. Goldsmith said that roughly two years ago, he and Wolfe began importing and promoting non-alcoholic products from Europe. Now, they even have their own product.
“We launched a brand of non-alcoholic spirits called Harmony,” Goldsmith said. “We very quickly went from just a little blog, to importing several brands from across Europe, manufacturing our own, and selling all of these products on ecommerce and wholesale all around the U.S. So it happened quickly.”
There are a couple of ways to approach non-alcoholic spirits, said Goldsmith. Some – like ISH, imported from Copenhagen – try to make a one-to-one match. Their non-alcoholic gins, tequilas, and rums taste pretty similar to the real thing. But with Harmony, Goldsmith and Wolfe tried to do something different.
While the two flavors – Smoked Apértif and Alpine Digestif – are inspired by alcohol, they’re meant to taste uniquely their own.
“Harmony and a few other brands are really just having fun in this space of non-alcoholic drinks,” the now metro Atlanta-based Goldsmith said. “We’re not trying to create something that tastes like alcohol. We’re trying to create a really delicious and interesting complex beverage for that alcohol occasion.”
According to Goldsmith, The Zero Proof’s products are mostly geared toward the alcohol drinker, which is good news for those of you headed into Dry January. According to a spokesperson, The Zero Proof will be offering 15% off your first order all month long. If you sign up for emails, you’ll also be the first to know about other discounts.
“82% of the folks that drink these premium non-alcoholic wines and spirits are alcohol drinkers, and the occasion is the alcohol occasion,” Goldsmith said. “You’re included in the celebration even if you’re not drinking alcohol.”