Homegrown Business: Interview with Mary Thompson, Marketing Director of Clearsips

Launched in May 2022 by the Thompson family, Clearsips is an Ontario-based importer, distributor, and retailer of national and international non-alcoholic spirits, wine, beer, cider and ready-to-drink beverages, all of which have been carefully vetted by a team of wine and spirit professionals.


What is your business called and what does it do?

Clearsips is a newly launched family-owned business – we are an importer, distributor, and retailer of national and international esteemed non-alcoholic spirits, wine, beer, cider and ready-to-drink beverages. Our mission is to bring premium, great-tasting non-alcoholic drinks to Canadians, and to encourage and facilitate more inclusive celebrations.

Brands we currently represent include:

Wine: L’Arjolle, Oddbird and Pierre Chavin
Spirits: HP Juniper, Monday, Sobreo and Solbru
Beer/Cider: Nirvana, One for The Road, and Sober Carpenter
Pre-mixed: Cipriani, Edna’s, HP Juniper RTD, and Piquette Zero

What made you want to do this work?

There are four of us (mother, father and two daughters) in the family who started Clearsips, and we each choose to live a sober or sober curious lifestyle, for different reasons.

Promoting and elevating this lifestyle is very much a passion for each of us.

What problem did you want to solve with the business?

There is limited choice and availability of higher quality non-alcoholic beverages in restaurants, hotels, and grocery stores. This can make it challenging for people who want to feel included while celebrating with their friends or family at restaurants or home gatherings. Who wants to toast with a glass of pop or juice?

Who are your clientele/demographics?

We provide sophisticated alcohol-free alternatives for anyone who is looking to drink non-alcoholic beverages. They could be choosing a non-alcoholic drink because they are sober, cutting back, driving, boating, running a marathon in the morning, moderating, wanting to sleep better, on antibiotics, religious reasons, pregnant, saving money, hosting inclusively, avoiding a hangover, doing a cleanse, Sober January, Dry July, Sober October…The list goes on…

How does your business make money? How does it work?

People can purchase directly from us at clearsips.ca (we ship across Canada)

Clearsips is also an importer and distributor, so we work closely with restaurants, hotels, grocery stores, retailers and venues to help them stock their shelves, bars and events with exclusive non-alcoholic brands.


Where in Toronto can we find your profession?

The non-alcoholic industry has exploded over the last five years – in Toronto, across Canada and globally.

There are many incredible non-alcoholic beverage brewers/makers in and around Toronto. Catch our HP Juniper signature cocktail at 15 Oliver & Bonacini restaurants during Toronto’s Summerlicious this August, a growing list of restaurants and independent grocers across the GTA, and we will be at the Restaurants Canada Show in May 2023.

What is the best question a prospective customer could ask a member of your profession when comparing services? Give the answer as well.

Q: Why would I choose Clearsips over one of your competitors?
A: David Thompson, our Co-Founder, has operated Vintage Trade, a medium-sized wine agency in Ontario, for over 20 years. He and the Clearsips team have tasted many non-alcoholic wines, spirits, beer and pre-mixed cocktails and have chosen the best quality line-up from what is available on the market today.

What is the best part about what you do? What is the worst part?

Sourcing producers from all over the world and sharing their products and unique stories with our customers. We also love helping restaurants and consumers be more inclusive hosts for their non-drinking guests.

Many people have tried first-generation non-alcoholic beverages, which are inferior in quality and taste compared to what is available today. Shifting these first impressions is a challenge for us, but one we a determined to do.

What is your favourite joke about your own profession?

“Non-alcoholic wine… you mean grape juice?” (we promise we’ll prove you wrong!)

What are your social media channels?

Instagram | FacebookTwitterLinked In

PAY IT FORWARD: What is another Toronto business that you love?

Not 9 to 5, a non-profit organization dedicated to mental health advocacy for people in the hospitality sector.