As lockdown had more people reaching for the liquor cabinet after a long day, a business decision to send alcohol-free alternatives straight to customers' homes sent a Canberra enterprise to new heights.
Demand for Altina Drinks' non-alcoholic beverages tumbled 80 per cent when the business events and hospitality venues they typically catered for shut down. With no reopening in sight, co-founder Christina Delay knew something needed to change.
"We were concerned about whether we would have a business in three to six months' time," she said.
Altina were among the one-third of Australian small businesses that altered their business model to capture a changing market during the coronavirus lockdown.
The social enterprise was founded two years ago with the plan to show people "socialising without alcohol doesn't need to be boring" and pushing a "mindful" approach to alcohol intake.
A national website and subscription service had been in the pipeline for a few months but COVID-19 forced the business to hit the accelerator and get it out early.
Altina held Australia's first Zero Proof Festival virtually in July, celebrating "alcohol-free socialising" through social media and online events.
The nationwide lockdowns imposed in March led to a rise in drinking, an Australian National University study found.
Almost one in four women and one in five men who drank reported an increase in drinking during May.
Ms Delay said Altina's cocktails were a healthy alternative to reaching for a bottle of wine at the end of a long day.
"People are used to the concept of subscriptions in the wine industry," Ms Delay said.
"We haven't seen one for alcohol-free drinks before."
Ms Delay said the push towards buying everything online from retail to groceries helped expand the business, which had taken on two new employees in recent months as subscription sales continued to grow.
She said without the pandemic pressure, Altina wouldn't have put the time and money into its online platform, completely changing the way it does business.
The pivot has gained the company a spot in the top 30 finalists as an innovative business in the Together in Business Member Recognition Program.