How Boisson Benefits From — and Fuels — Non-Alcoholic Beverage Category Growth

Boisson is driving education and growth for the non-alcoholic beverage market by acting as the "Sephora" for category brands.
Photo credit: Prostock-studio -

The non-alcoholic beverage (NA) market is projected to reach $176.7 billion in 2024. With a compound annual growth rate of about 25%, this category is poised to reach $426.2 billion in revenue by 2028.

Big name alcoholic beverage players such as Anheuser-Busch and Diageo will be fighting to get a piece of this pie by bringing new products to market, especially with U.S. wine and beer sales declining and spirit sales barely seeing growth. However, Boisson is differentiating itself by helping drive and fulfill consumer demand with a robust omnichannel strategy that creates a flywheel effect not just for the business, but for NA collectively.

Between its growing retail store footprint, evolving ecommerce platform and fast-growing wholesale import and distribution, Boisson is helping NA brands capitalize on consumer interest and meet the needs of individuals who are “taking a more mindful approach to drinking,” explained Founder and President Nick Bodkins in an interview for the Retail Remix podcast. “Unlike [the alcoholic beverage market], where there is a walled-off, regulatory-driven route-to-market for brands, we span all three tiers of distribution, and we have a few of our own products that we make along with some partners. You can kind of think of us as the Sephora of NA.”

Similar to Sephora, Boisson is leaning heavily into education and discovery across its omnichannel platform. Bodkins will dig deeper into this vision during the Retail Innovation Conference & Expo, taking place June 4-6, 2024, in Chicago. He’ll join a panel including Amy Jain, Co-founder and CEO of BaubleBar, and Justin Tichy, COO of Petco, to have a candid conversation around how they’re prioritizing “retail fundamentals” to grow efficiently and effectively.

Of note, Boisson will soon be opening its ninth brick-and-mortar store in Miami and is investing in its DTC delivery and fulfillment capabilities, looking closely at wholesale and off-site partnerships as its next big growth areas.

Taking a ‘Neighborhood Store’ Approach to Brick-and-Mortar Expansion

Inside the Boisson Upper West Side location. Photo credit: Boisson

Boisson has focused on opening stores in metro areas such as New York City, San Francisco and Los Angeles, but its entry into Miami shows that the brand’s brick-and-mortar strategy entails more than awareness and reach. The store is at the Shops at Merrick Park in Coral Gables, Fla., a more suburban area where consumers live and shop.

“We share a wall with an Equinox,” noted Bodkins, “and yes, there is a Louis Vuitton underneath us, but there are also doctors’ and dentists’ offices there. The idea is [to be] where people actually live, and not where people go on vacation. It brings us closer to that North Star of the stores being a neighborhood store.”

By “a neighborhood store,” Bodkins means a destination that’s driven by discovery and education. “We don’t have 5,000- or 10,000-square-foot stores. They’re supposed to be small and intimate,” Bodkins added. These smaller formats encourage interactions with Boisson employees and are also ideal for small gatherings like tastings.

The format also supports more fulfillment-driven experiences. “Right now, we limit that last mile component to our own ecommerce orders, but one of the things we are going to be working on is servicing the brands that we carry,” he added. “So hopefully, before the end of the year, if a brand collaborates with us closely, they could possibly sell to a DTC consumer on their own websites, but that order passes through to us and we can fulfill it to the customer.”  

Beyond Miami, Boisson is “being really purposeful” about new store openings. “We did some pop-up stores that worked and some that didn’t, but we’re being really thoughtful now about trying to make sure that…they’re in neighborhoods where people live,” Bodkins explained.

Wholesale Creates a New Path to Acquisition

To drive additional growth for its network of brand partners, Boisson also is looking at wholesale expansion. One lever the company’s looking to pull is branded storefronts within grocery stores. “We don’t think there necessarily needs to be 150 Boisson stores around the country,” Bodkins explained. “We could be better served by store-within-store concepts and help curate collections within traditional retailers. That, to us, means it’s more capital-efficient, but we’re still seeing that data and insights play out. We still have opportunity there.”

However, the core lever is new partnerships with KeHe and LibDib, two key players in on-premise and off-premise beverage distribution. Together, these companies will extend the reach of Boisson brand partners into national retailers, grocery, bottle shops and entertainment venues, as well as traditional bars and restaurants. Additionally, Boisson hired Jill Sites as its new VP of Wholesale to oversee this new area of the business, which is already exceeding its initial goal of 70% growth by 2025.

“Our ambitions were largely focused on on-premise placements, and how do we get more restaurants to buy more products and build a better NA menu? And then, how do we get them to buy more often, which means that they’re selling more product to more people?” Bodkins explained. “What’s happening now, thanks to this distribution agreement we have in place with KeHe and LibDib, is that off-premise part of the business is really starting to gain some traction, because larger retailers are coming to us now and trying to work with us as a specialty retailer that knows the market. Now we can distribute to them.”

Boisson’s curated approach to discovery is a differentiator for its blossoming wholesale business.
Photo credit: Boisson

Boisson’s big advantage for wholesale growth? Its rich DTC ecommerce and in-store data, which helps the business gauge brand sales and aggregate consumer reviews and feedback. This rich data engine allows Boisson to not only identify what’s trending but also forecast which brands will be most in demand in the future.


“The reason why our business is shifting to support and service brands into wholesale and into other retailers is because we see the smoke before fire with brands that we think are promising,” Bodkins explained.

Boisson’s rich content and ecommerce investments also serve as a powerful education and acquisition channel for consumers, who then will venture to traditional retail and grocery destinations to find these brands. “We’re the ones getting paid media in front of customers to introduce them to the category,” said Bodkins. “We’ve invested in content. We’re investing in our technological infrastructure, our warehousing and logistics infrastructure. There’s a lot of work that’s been done to stand up that part of the business. And we’ve got to convince our investors that there’s going to be scale here beyond even the success that we’ve had so far.”

Brand Adjacencies Drive Discovery and Engagement

A core part of the Boisson business is selling to bars and restaurants that then craft specialty “mocktails” and drink menus featuring brand partners. However, a core (and growing) part of the Boisson brand experience is partnering with hospitality brands, and even chefs, to raise awareness about some of the NA market’s most high-quality brands.

“We’ve seen the most success on this partnership or brand adjacency side because we’re just meeting customers where they are and helping them understand that integrating non-alcoholic options into what otherwise might be only an occasion for drinking alcohol is actually a completely reasonable thing to do,” Bodkins said. For example, Boisson hosted the first-ever non-alcoholic pairing dinner at the Aspen Food & Wine Classic. The brand also “popped up” at Kourtney Kardashian’s Camp Poosh event during Coachella, the South Beach Food & Wine Festival, and it even has presence at Snow Lodge in Aspen and Surf Lodge in Montauk, N.Y. “We’re trying to show up in those places where we can normalize the more mindful approach to drinking,” noted Bodkins.

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