Target Says ‘Nope’ With Non-Alcoholic Cocktail Product In 600 Stores

When Beth Ann Shaeffer launched NOPE Beverages three years ago, she could only dream of having her non-alcoholic canned cocktails placed in a major department store.

But that dream’s become a reality, as Target picked up her six-can variety party pack to sell in 600 stores for the holiday season, and its distribution will expand for “Dry January” to 1,700 stores across the country.

“I just feel like we’re on the cusp of something really big and exciting,” Shaeffer says.

The six-pack will retain for $20, and it will contain two cans each of mango margarita with jalapeño, watermelon chili mojito, and black cherry sangria.

The mango margarita with jalapeño remains NOPE’s best-selling flavor since its launch, and the watermelon chili mojito and black cherry sangria are two new flavors to join the line-up. The other flavors in the NOPE line include: strawberry basil smash, raspberry lime ginger beer, and rosemary vanilla lemonade.

“The two new flavors contain two-thirds less sugar and less calories than the original flavors,” Shaeffer says.

The new flavors contain only 35 calories and six grams of sugar. “But they taste just as good, if not better, than our original flavors,” she says. “We had requests for less sugar and less calories, and we definitely wanted to respond to that.”

The distribution at Target comes through an independent store called Sechet, and the section in Target where NOPE will be sold is called Sèchey; which is a non-alcoholic bottle shop, and the section at Target will be like a store within a store.

Back in 2020, NOPE was first only sold online to customers, and within the first year of operations, its distribution grew slowly, independent store by independent store. “Back then, I was just so excited when we reached customers in all 50 states,” Shaeffer says.

Today, NOPE is sold in more than 2,000 stores, from coast to coast, including CVS stores and Wegman’s. Shaeffer says during the first year of starting her business, she had to educate store owners and managers about what her product was.

“Back when I started, a lot of people thought these non-alcoholic brands were only for people who were pregnant or dealing with sobriety,” Shaeffer says. “But 82 percent of people who consume nonalcoholic products will also drink alcohol. They’re just more mindful, and they can float back and forth between the categories.”

“When we used to call retailers and distributors, they really didn’t know what we were,” she adds. “Now, three years later, it’s in high demand, and people are asking for our products. Now, there’s a (definitive) category, and there is a place on a shelf for us. I don’t have to explain to people what NOPE is.”

Getting placement in Target is a big milestone for this family-run, small business. “This is a really exciting thing for us,” Shaeffer says. “Target is like a dream. It’s somewhere we always hoped to be.”

In 2024, Shaeffer hopes to expand NOPE’s reach to bars, restaurants, and other places, and additional flavors will likely be added in the fourth quarter, as the team is always testing and developing new cocktails. “We really want to break into the on-premise scene,” she says.

For now, though, Shaeffer is celebrating the big and little wins. “I was in Ann Arbor, taking my son to a debate camp, and I ended up talking with this woman about non-alcoholic drinks, and she asked me if I knew about NOPE,” she says. “Another time, I saw someone on the beach drinking NOPE. I’d love to go into a restaurant and see someone with a can.”

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