Future Pub Conference

Dry bar founder tells operators alcohol-free trend 'is here to stay'

By Mike Berry

- Last updated on GMT

Redemption bar founder Catherine Salway
Redemption bar founder Catherine Salway

Related tags Future pub conference Alcoholic beverage

Peoples’ relationship with alcohol has changed and the pub operators of the future will need to adapt their businesses to cater for it, according to Catherine Salway, founder of dry ‘gastro-bar’ concept Redemption.

Salway set up Redemption in 2013 and is close to securing her first permanent site in London following a number of successful pop-ups and residencies. She insisted that people will always want somewhere to meet face to face, but “that doesn’t always have to happen around alcohol”.

Speaking at last week's Future Pub conference in London, organised by the PMA​ and M&C Report​, she said: “I don’t just see Redemption as a dry bar — it’s a bigger idea than that. It’s about recognition that when you socialise it doesn’t always have to be at the expense of your health.

"We are not saying everyone should give up booze but if we can make it cool not to drink then we have done society a favour.”

'Conscious consumer'

Official statistics published last month revealed that one in five adults is now a teetotaller, with young people under the age of 25 primarily responsible for the change.

“Look at the figures on how many people are choosing not to drink, especially young people. This trend is here to stay,” said Salway. “A conscious consumer has developed.”

Redemption offers a range of alcohol-free cocktails (mocktails) plus a menu designed by a nutritional therapist, which allows customers to ‘spoil yourself without spoiling yourself’. The bar also sells an alcohol-free beer.

Salway disagreed with the suggestion the bar had limited appeal, and said: “It was really important for us that this isn’t just a hippy concept. We want it to feel like a place you would want to be seen.”

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