The Zero Co. is Atlanta’s first non-alcoholic bottle shop located on a busy strip of Poncey-Highland. Just a block from its parent company Elemental Spirits Co. on North Highland Avenue, the new spot has a similar boutique shopping experience.
The shelves of Zero Co. are dappled with vintage cocktail glasses and colorful decanters, bottles of non-alcoholic spirits, wines, bitters, fizzy drinks and more. Currently open Wednesday to Sunday with hours expanding this spring, the shop attracts a wide range of customers.
The shop was bustling on a recent Friday afternoon. One man who was hosting Muslim dinner guests sought a zero-alcohol beverage, while another woman had just popped over from Elemental to see what the buzz was about.
“Our demographic is sober, sober-curious, people who are pregnant, cutting back on drinking, literally everybody,” said Rori Robinson, general manager.
Robinson has been with Elemental since the beginning, recruited by another employee she met at A Sip of Paradise in East Atlanta, a community project for bartenders that started when bars were closed in 2020. Robinson serves as garden director at A Sip of Paradise, and grows fruits and veggies in her home garden.
Although Robinson and Sales Associate Shannon Williams drink alcohol, they have several products from Zero Co. on their shelves at home. Rory enjoys the shop’s non-alcoholic sparkling wines and Shannon favors Amethyst, a spirit distilled and blended with fruits and botanicals. Pathfinder, a fermented and distilled hemp-based spirit, is a favorite of Zero Co. employees.
Non-alcoholic wines have a reputation of being glorified juice sometimes, said Williams, but choices at Zero Co. range from effervescent sparkling wine to big bold red wine.
“There’s something for everyone,” said Williams, who spends her day advising customers who are vegan, gluten-free or sugar-conscientious.
“People have a lot of questions. Either they have never had alcohol before, or they’re looking to replace an old favorite. Normally they haven’t seen any of the products on the shelves, so there’s a lot of assistance involved to figure out what flavor profiles they like,” said Williams.
Cory Atkinson opened Elemental Spirits in 2020, weeks before the pandemic closed down non-essential businesses. His spouse, Malory Atkinson, is the co-founder of a woman-owned structural engineering firm and the curator of design and glassware in both shops.
The popularity of low- and zero-alcohol products at Elemental was growing rapidly, which led Cory Atkinson to open Zero Co. in December 2022.
“Poncey-Highland is really tight-knit,” said Williams, who lives in the neighborhood and walks to work. “We’re the only thing like this in the community. There was definitely a need for it.”
With spring around the corner, Zero Co. hopes to hold non-alcoholic cocktail classes. For now, customers can sample from the bar cart in the shop.
The Zero Co. is located at 626 N. Highland Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30306. The shop is open Wednesday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. Visit thezeroco.co for more information.