Walking into Forward Beverage Co. in downtown Wausau feels a lot like walking into any downtown cocktail lounge, except for one crucial difference: You’ll feel a lot different walking out.
That’s because none of the drinks on hand at Forward are alcoholic. But they taste just as good.
Forward Beverage Company opened up this week in the former Sweet Lola’s location on Third Street in downtown Wausau. The new business is a non-alcoholic lounge, so none of the cocktails they serve contain alcohol.
Paul Yanzer, who along with his wife Amy officially opened up the lounge downtown Sept. 19, said he gave up drinking alcohol a number of years ago, and when the couple goes out to eat, for instance, it pretty much means he’s going to be drinking water.
The Yanzers think we can do better. And if anyone were the person to do it, it would be Paul. He has beverages down to a science, literally. Paul is a chemist and a physicist. He managed research and development at Octopi Brewing in Waunakee. Through that company he worked with a number of brands and helped them develop their flavor.
Forward Beverage Co.’s expertise
Paul put that training and research to work with the Forward Beverage Company. The lounge sells two drinks that he developed: The Citrosa, which is a non-alcoholic version of a mimosa, and the In-Fashion, which is a non-alcoholic version of an old-fashioned (sweet).
The In-Fashion uses bitters from Timekeeper Distillery. Forward beverages use real sugars and no artificial flavors in their making,, Paul says. All the beverages are pre-made and poured from a tap.
Both of those come in two different varieties: a soft cocktail, which is fine for everyone from children to adults to consume, and a social seltzer, which has CBD and ashwaganda. The combo provides a mellowing effect. All of their beverages also have electrolytes to help customers with hydration.
The beverages are served in a stylish aluminum cup that customers can bring back for a $1 discount on their next beverage.
Impact to Wausau area restaurants
But it’s not just the gold and black in-person lounge where the Yanzers hope to have an impact. They want to work with area restaurants to provide kegs from which to serve their customers a non-alcoholic option. And, they plan to focus on wholesale distribution.
Though not officially open until this week, the beverage company held a soft opening during Artrageous Weekend. Many customers probably might not have realized they were standing in the former Sweet Lola’s location, as the style is quite different. Besides the black and gold decor and fresh wood floors and a bar with woodwork from Skeeter’s Workshop, even angling in the wood of the bar speaks to the beverage company’s brand Forward.
It’s easy to think of scenarios where Forward will come in handy. Got a friend who doesn’t drink? This provides an option. Or if you’ve had a couple of drinks downtown, stopping in at Forward before going home is a useful option to have.
Forward Beverage Co. is located at 303 N. Third Street. Their hours are 11 am-6 pm Tues.-Sat. Find them on Facebook under Forward Beverage Co.