No-alcoholic but full flavour adventure begins at new Pickering bottle shop


Published May 7, 2024 at 9:34 am

With Grace Marketplace
With Grace Marketplace founder Dana Jackson

As a former love of India Pale Ales and all the bold and bitter flavours associated with that beer style, Dana Jackson was having trouble finding the tastes she craved when the former brewery manager gave up the booze five years ago.

“I love bold flavours in beer like IPAs and there just wasn’t anything that had that bitter bite.”

That all changed after a trip to Montreal in December and specifically a visit to a tattoo shop in Quebec’s biggest city where the tattoo artist tipped her off to a ‘sober shop’ nearby.

“I was like a kid in a candy store,” Jackson said Saturday morning at the grand opening of her own bottle shop – With Grace Marketplace – in Pickering’s Nautical Village community on Frenchman’s Bay. “That kinda started the journey.”

It was a pretty quick turnaround for Jackson and her motorcycle racing partner, Scott Szollos, but a lot of elbow grease later the shop was ready for its opening May 4, with Pickering Mayor Kevin Ashe, who said he was “blown away” by the space, in attendance for the official ribbon-cutting.

“It’s a great idea,” Ashe said. “There’s a growing population that is now more aware of what they’re putting their bodies.”

Healthy choices is a big selling point to the products at the bottle shop, with Jackson hoping to redefine the way Canadians experience and enjoy alcohol-free drinks, from craft sodas, alcohol-free spirits and sophisticated mocktails to de-alcoholized beers (including full flavour IPAs) and no-alcohol wines, such as a Pure Vision Shiraz from Australia that Jackson believes will be a big hit with her customers.

Vegan offerings are also on display, as well as eco-conscious products to celebrate all life’s milestones.

“There’s a ton of options,” she said.

Jackson’s own sober journey began in July 2019 when she came to the realization that she had become a “spectator” of her own life. “I was no longer in control of my actions and I had to make some real changes to how I was living my life – the biggest being to no longer drink to get drunk.”

Szollos does not identify as alcoholic but, as an athlete he was only an occasional drinker and was able to stop with little difficulty. He also found his reaction times when he’s speeding down the straight at nearly 300 km/hr on his Superbike on the Mosport track improved.

“Racing is about split-second decisions. I stopped drinking and I started winning races.”

For Jackson, quitting drinking was a necessary change in her life. “I had no interest in hangovers or losing time or productivity or control. Intoxication just isn’t for me anymore.”

Finding those bold flavours in non-alcoholic beverages proved to be the challenge but those products are out there. And now they’re in Pickering at With Grace Marketplace.

“I love creating artistic cocktails and sharing a bottle of wine with friends (and) we want to make those products accessible to everyone,” Jackson explained, adding that she was often approached by friends about sober and low-calorie options. “Our mission with the shop is to provide a welcoming space where individuals can explore, discover, and indulge in the world of non-alcoholic beverages, all while celebrating life’s special moments mindfully and with, well, grace. We want people to know they have options.”

Forbes Magazine reported the non-alcohol drinks market topped $11 Billion in 2022 and is expected to grow at an annual growth rate of nearly ten per cent by 2026 to support consumer demand.

Still, opening a non-alcohol bottle shop on a “seed of an idea” is a risky business venture. But “without risk,” Szollos noted, “there is no reward.”

“With or without booze, life is not without its challenges and I have had to come to terms with the reality that I cannot save the world from pain and suffering, at least not on my own,” said Jackson, who hopes to be in business for a long time. “But I can create the space I want to live in. A space of generosity, respect, action, compassion and energy (grace). That’s where this store comes in.”

For more information, visit or across social media channels @withgracemarketplace.

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