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Food & Drink

Inside Marigold, Minnesota’s First Non-Alcoholic Bottle Shop

The sober-curious movement grows with an NA "spirits" store in Lyndale.

an exterior shot of marigold's brick building, with a pink and green sign blanketing the windows
Em Cassel

Honeycomb Salon owner Erin Flavin has always loved natural wines. Beautiful, colorful, juicy, small-production wines, practically glowing orange or red in their bottles and wrapped up in a sexy label. Then 2020 happened.

As the pandemic wore on, it got harder and harder to manage the salon and be a rock for her hairdressers and clients. Flavin started to realize that she was drinking a whole lot more, and that once she'd started, she didn't have an off button. "It's a lot of pressure. And when you're drunk all the time... I was just, like, crumbling," she says. The stress and chaos of COVID-19 sparked another realization: This wasn't exactly a new experience. She'd long struggled to moderate her drinking.

Later this month, Flavin will celebrate her two-year alcohol-free anniversary—and not long after that, she'll celebrate the grand opening of Marigold, the non-alcoholic bottle shop that's up and running in the space next-door to her Nicollet Avenue salon.

"I had a few people kind of laugh at the idea—'OK, so you're going to have an NA store with a salon, and you're connecting them?'" she chuckles. But it was talking with clients over the last few years that made it clear how many people were struggling with fear and uncertainty, and how many were dealing with it by turning to their favorite beverages earlier and earlier each night.

"Everybody was just so... for lack of a better word, fucked up," she says. "Everything was such a mess."

Flavin has always wanted Honeycomb to feel welcoming and warm—why couldn't those feelings extend to an adjacent bottle shop? She bought the building from her landlord in the midst of the pandemic, and now the wide front window is lined with bottles and cans as colorful as any natural wine: Ghia's Lime & Salt apertif, Kin's caffeinated bevs, Casamara Club's "leisure sodas," and an array of other de-alcoholized wines and sparkling teas.

the fridge at marigold, which is stocked with colorful cans and bottles of NA bevs
Em Cassel

Sobriety can look a lot different in 2022 than it did even two decades ago. Abstaining from alcohol doesn't have to mean making weekly AA meetings (it still does for some), or even require a complete avoidance of mind-altering substances (it still does for many). At Marigold, you'll find THC and CBD beverages from local breweries alongside the NA options—there's an understanding that beginning your social life over without alcohol doesn't have to mean giving up everything.

"That's what's so nice about this place: It's for everybody. I don't want anybody to ever feel like they can't come in here because they still drink," Flavin says.

Marigold is the first non-alcoholic bottle shop in Minnesota, but it joins a growing number around the country, from Spirited Away in NYC to Ohio's Ghostlight Coffee and Bottle Shop to Sipple in Houston. There's a sense that in the hard-drinkin' Midwest, the NA movement has been a bit slower to catch on, even if bars like the now-shuttered Marvel Bar tried to carry that booze-free torch.

"This is just the way of our life, this is how we socialize," says Flavin, a lifelong Minnesotan. It's also how many of us wheedle away our time alone. But by taking one of these colorful cans, elevating its contents with some gorgeous glassware and a garnish, even Minnesotans can start to replace the glass (or three) of wine or beer we'd otherwise use to bookend the day.

As time goes on, Flavin would like to stock Marigold's shelf and fridge space with more local drinks—like those from 3LECHE, the booze-free bev company from bartenders Marco Zappia, Dustin Nguyen, and Adam Witherspoon, who co-hosted an alcohol-less party at Marigold's space before construction started earlier this year. Someday, those might be joined by local snacks and sweet treats... maybe some famers market favorites, and pints of ice cream from Dream Creamery?

Ideally, Marigold's owner wants her shop to be just one of the places locally emphasizing an array of alcohol-free beverages. She hopes more bars and restaurants will make this an option, too—that thoughtful, curated drink lists will start to include more thoughtful, beautiful NA cocktails and other drinks. And Marigold will be there all along, offering insight alongside non-alcoholic drinks.

"I hope," she says. "It's a total social experiment, because it hasn't been done here."

3506 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis
Monday - Friday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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