Darryl Collins reevaluated his relationship with alcohol when he stopped and counted how many drinks he’d had in a week: 20. He switched to non-alcoholic beers during the week and only drank alcohol on the weekends.
Although he’d initially only planned to open a cat cafe when he moved here from D.C. in 2021 (Flattery Cattery will open in Federal Hill early next year), he pivoted and instead opened a place where people could buy non-alcoholic drinks.
Hopscotch opened in Fells Point in August. The shop offers non-alcoholic and zero-proof beer, wine, and spirits. ‘Non-alcoholic’ means they contain less than 0.5 percent alcohol by volume, while ‘zero proof’ means they contain no alcohol at all. He also sells zero-proof bitters and garnishes. Every bottle on display is selected and curated by Collins with intention and care.
Collins has designed the space to be jovial and welcoming, and this extends from the bright colors on the wall to the name of the space, which also recognizes sobriety as a journey. “Some people have one foot in. Those are people who are sober-curious, who might drink alcohol and non-alcoholic beverages,” he told Baltimore Beat. “Then you have other people who have two feet in — those are sober-serious, who don’t drink any alcohol at all. But, at the end of the day, it’s about maintaining your balance and having fun, however that looks to you.”
The shop currently offers in-store tastings and browsing, and in January it will begin shipping online orders. Collins also plans to open a non-alcoholic speakeasy, also in Federal Hill, next year.
“We’re not here to judge anyone,” he says, “We’re not here to ask your reason for not drinking. We’re just here to provide an option for those who are not looking to drink alcohol at the moment.” (Teri Henderson)
Hopscotch is located at 520 South Caroline Street, Suite 101. Find them online at hopscotchbottleshop.com.