Dry Spokes is a local non-alcoholic bar that is ‘mixing up’ our perception of what a bar is.
The idea for Dry Spokes began when Co-Founder, Mi-Ya, was serving active duty in Korea and began to stop drinking. “I didn’t like the way I felt in the morning and it wasn’t really adding to my life. I started looking for non-alcoholic beer and found Well Being. That’s when big brands like Heineken and Guinness began leveraging the non-alcoholic space -which validated the need for non-alcoholic options” stated Mi-Ya in an interview with Mug.News.
Dry Spokes launched as a mobile bar in the Omaha market in 2022. They began identifying product market fit by offering samples of alcoholic cocktails including a spin on the usual mixers, juices, syrups, and spirits. “We launched mobile to see how the Omaha market would accept craft, non-alcoholic cocktails” stated Mi-Ya. They continued to validate their concept by hosting booths at farmers markets and vendor fairs.
These activities provided a strong return via brand awareness when Dry Spokes started getting hired for private events. “[Dry Spokes] presents beverages that look like a traditional cocktail, all the way down to the bottles the spirits come in,” stated Mi-Ya. One of their first events was the Military Spouses Brunch Event in which Dry Spokes created non-alcoholic mimosas and old fashioneds. Their proof of concept was validated as customers began to pay for these experiences and were happy to ‘enjoy a mimosa and not have to worry about driving home’.
Demand and awareness steadily rose for Dry Spokes as they continued to host community events with their craft non-alcoholic cocktails. In January 2023, Dry spokes partnered with local Site-1 Brewery during a period known in the bar industry as ‘Dry January’. This fairly new concept stems from the slow alcohol sales in January due to people taking a break after the holidays and new year resolutions to stop drinking. “For some people, they don’t realize how much [drinking alcohol] impacts their daily life and when they take a break, they like how they feel. This is why the movement has started gaining traction,” stated Mi-Ya.
This partnership with Site-1 Brewing led to more opportunities with Sunnyside on Center. Dry Spokes has held a pop-up at Sunnyside for a summer event. These pop-ups feature local musicians, great food, and amazing non-alcoholic cocktails. “We served our mocktails right alongside their beer, and it was a beautiful working relationship in which those who wanted alcohol could drink, but then those who didn’t still felt included in the festivities,” stated Mi-Ya.
The next step in Dry Spokes’ journey was obtaining a brick and mortar location in December of 2022 with their grand opening in February of 2023.
Since opening, Dry Spokes has hosted a multitude of community events in their space. Mi-Ya and Leah encourage and welcome outside organizations and community members to rent out Dry Spokes, which includes a bar, patio, and separated event space. Events this month (May 2023) include yoga sessions, canvas painting, pop ups and local markets including collaborations with other small businesses like The Pie Whole. You can check out Dry Spokes’ upcoming events at this link.
A unique, fresh feel is blended into their recipes since Mi-Ya and Leah personally craft their non-alcoholic cocktail recipes. “I began watching videos and reading blogs on mixology, and found that I can substitute alcoholic options with different ingredients to obtain a similar taste, but alcohol free,” stated Mi-Ya. Dry Spokes’ drinks attract all types of customers; some who are in recovery and those who are ‘sober curious’. In our interview, Mi-Ya discussed how Dry Spokes has become a neutral ground for the community. “It’s been interesting because maybe less than 10% of our customers have identified as those actively in recovery, and last month we even had multiple religious groups rent out our space. It’s a whole gamut of all walks of life who come into our space, and we love collaborating with everyone.”
Stop in to Dry Spokes and try Mi-Ya’s favorites of Old Fashioned and Well Wisher next time you’re looking for a refreshing alternative to the typical bar scene.
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