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Arkay Beverages’ Grattagliano On Zero-Proof Spirits, ‘Sober Bars’

Arkay Beverages' Grattagliano On Zero-Proof Spirits, 'Sober Bars'

Source : Mediapost – by  June 26,2020 –

What do perfume and liquor have in common?

Most people would probably say not too much—but not Reynald Vito Grattagliano of Arkay Beverages.

In 2007, while living in Panama, his son returned home one night from a club in a taxi instead of his car because his dad had told him never to drive while under the influence of alcohol.

“The first thing he told me was, ‘why don’t you make an alcohol-free whiskey’? Grattagliano recalls. “I told him I would try.”

In this interview, Grattagliano—who was a perfumer before pioneering zero-proof beverages—talks about recreating the taste and “burn” of alcohol, why Arkay went strictly direct-to-consumer back in 2011, and the trend toward “sober bars.” 

CPG FYI:  What’s the relationship between perfume and alcohol?

Grattagliano: When you have a perfume in your hand, it gives you the smell. But when you eat something, it gives you the flavor. Between the smell and the taste, it’s a big difference. 

So I tried to work on a formula with taste and smell of whiskey, but it was missing the kick, or the burn, of alcohol. I came up with the burn by inventing a warm molecule, and created Arkay.

CPG FYI: You seem to have been ahead of the curve as well in selling directly to consumers. Why did you choose that over retail distribution?

Grattagliano: With online, you could sell direct to the consumer. You don’t spend money with distributors, you don’t spend money with stores. Because the stores tell you, “give me this, give me that.” At the end, you get nothing and they get everything.

CPG FYI: You also dabbled with Amazon early on?

Grattagliano: I was on Amazon in 2011 until 2012, and then I pulled out. I came back about six months ago, and we’re doing fantastic on Amazon. 

CPG FYI: In the last few years, you’ve had some company in the zero-proof spirits space. How is that going?

Grattagliano: In 2016, Diageo invested in Seedlip, which was a very good alcohol-free gin, and then in 2019 they started working with a company called Ritual making an alcohol-free whiskey. 

At the beginning, people were buying Arkay out of curiosity or necessity. But many people didn’t want to put $50 on a bottle because it might not be so good. Because Diageo copied me, it gave more credibility to my business.

CPG FYI: You’ve got a lot of Muslim fans. Why is that?

Grattagliano: For Muslims, liquor is considered haram—against god. So those people buy Arkay because it’s something they want and they please their god, they please their faith. 

We’re doing very well in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Malaysia and so on because we give them the possibility to have fun, but without any issue with their faith.

CPG FYI: You’ve spent money on a billboard in Times Square, ads on buses, some television and in-flight magazines. What are you doing now?

Grattagliano: Zero. In 2019, we spent $10 million on advertising and did $36 million in sales. In 2020, we wanted to start advertising again and then boom—the coronavirus came. We didn’t know what was going on, so my wife and I decided to stop. 

Can you imagine today if I had signed for a multimillion-dollar campaign in Times Square and there’s nobody there? It would be a disaster.

CPG FYI: Along with so-called sober bars, what other types of distribution does Arkay have?

Grattagliano: This is a sweet move we’re doing. There are a lot of bars starting a new movement called sober bars. Bars without alcohol. All of them are either carrying Seedlip or Ritual or Arkay. 

And also, we got a little bit of distribution with Budweiser in Maine. We did very, very well until the coronavirus arrived. We had to stop the distribution because the stores closed. But they are very interested to increase buying from us, because there are requests from stores.

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Seedlip – Ben Branson both inspired by Arkay founder’s Reynald Grattagliano

Seedlip - Ben Branson both inspired by Arkay founder's Reynald Grattagliano

The Alcohol-Free Spirits Alternative market is booming with products like Ben Branson‘s and Arkay today.

The Alcohol-Free Spirits Alternative market is booming with products like Ben Branson's and Arkay today.

These products each have a single source that entered the market almost a decade ago when Reynald Grattagliano, introduced the world to the first Alcohol-Free Spirit company Arkay Beverages.

In 2011 Reynald Grattagliano, introduced the world to the first Alcohol-Free Spirit company ArKay Beverages

Then in 2014 Branson launched the distillate line Seedlip

2011 Reynald Grattagliano, introduced the world to the first Alcohol-Free Spirit company ArKay Beverages

2014 Branson launched the distillate line Seedlip

Reynald Vito Grattagliano is an entrepreneur and philanthropist driven to solve the world’s biggest challenges through innovation.


Reynald is the spark behind the current alcohol-free spirit movement having been the first in the field to imitate Spirits giving consumers a sober option to a night out.

Reynald had a vision and, in chasing that vision, was the first to produce an alcohol-free substitute for all the popular spirits.


A man who knows no limits, Reynald pushes big dreams into action, spurring massive cultural and technological change. His audacious vision and magnetic personality continually inspire others to follow what feels impossible.

The founder of Arkay Beverages, Reynald see beyond the current business and technological landscape, creating companies that make a true impact. Reynald’s next endeavor is to travel to the moon using lunar resources for innovation here on earth.

Whether it’s business or life, Reynald is guided by one firm belief – Our only limit is our imagination.

Back in 2007, Reynald Vito Grattagliano was inspired to produce alcohol free spirits following an episode with his 22-year-old son, who upon returning home from a party where there was ample imbibing, began to feel those certain unappealing after-effects. “He suggested that someone should create a whisky that doesn’t leave you feeling so hung-over,” explains Reynald Grattagliano.

Three years later he launched Arkay, the world’s first 0% ABV non-alcoholic spirit.

How Arkay Was Invented?

The founder of Arkay, a product line of beverages that are whisky flavored but 100% free of alcohol. Though only recently introduced, demand for the beverage has generated sales throughout the world, and the company is building on current successes by introducing new lines of vodka, rum, gin and Tequila, which may taste like the real deal, but are totally free of alcohol.

Reynald Grattagliano was inspired to produce the drinks following an episode with his 22-year-old son, who upon returning home from a party where there was ample imbibing, began to feel those certain unappealing after-effects. “He suggested that someone should create a whisky that doesn’t leave you feeling so hung-over,” explains ReynaldGrattagliano.

The son, of course, did not realize that suggestion would compel his father to not only spend the next five years of his life researching such a method, but he would spend five million dollars to make it happen.

Though Reynald Grattagliano does not have a background in beverage development, he certainly understands chemistry, as well as how to combine ingredients in such a way as to attract allure and appeal from the discriminating masses. He has made an enviable fortune by creating designer perfumes which are touted by some of the top beauty & cosmetic companies known to the world. After spending nearly two years attempting to devise an alcohol-free derivative that not only smelled, but tasted like whiskey, Grattagliano sought the expertise from a team of scientists at a lab in Switzerland. This collaboration ultimately resulted in the creation of an entirely new molecule, the quintessential break-through by which Arkay beverages were born. What is Arkay ?

The name derives from Reynald Grattagliano’s travels abroad. Apparently, during his stays in China, some people had trouble pronouncing his first name. Instead of saying “Reynald” their utterance was closer to “Arr-K” – which was AOK with him.

Reynald Grattagliano worked several years on the project and it is only on 2012 that the W.A.R.M molecule was discovered

Arkay Alcohol Alternative

Arkay has a small molecule placed inside the drink, in contact with the tongue the drink send stimuli to the brain, the illusion operates, and the mucous membranes of smell and taste saturate and make the consumer believe that he is drinking alcohol.

Arkay explained

No drunkenness, no adverse effect, this is the advantage of Arkay, it reproduces the taste of the liquor but none of the negative effects of the alcohol.

Individuals with medical condition or religious beliefs that prohibits the consumption of alcohol can enjoy the crisp and taste of ArKay non-alcoholic liquors alternatives.

Arkay Beverages

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Ritual Gin Festival

Ritual Gin Festival

Fake liquor


Garner Narrative comtemporary Fine Art