“The number of teetotal people has gone up again and under-25s are the biggest group of people not drinking alcohol,” Willoughby said.
Are you in the club?
The MA500 club is open to multi-site pub operators and runs three nationwide events a year that include business-focused presentations from top experts and owner-operators.
Each event is followed by an evening networking study tour of new and exciting venues in the area.
To register your interest in attending the next MA500 meeting in Edinburgh on Thursday 14 September, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We wanted to show that bars are great and friendly to those who don’t want to drink alcohol.
“Our approach is not saying don’t drink, it’s about saying you can still go to the pub on a night if you’ve got work the next day because they have got something for you.”
Club Soda has produced a guide that pubs can sign up to, free of charge to help showcase their low- and no-alcohol drinks offer and Willoughby stressed to delegates the importance of this to venues and drinkers.
She said: “The idea behind The Club Soda Guide was to find the solutions that both customers wanted and pubs felt would be as good for their business as for us – that is really important.
“This is adding something to what pubs are already doing, upping sales of soft drinks, upping and adding value to those customers who might not be drinking in your venue, moving away from a standard product to a premium drink from the fridge.”
However, Willoughby emphasised that this scheme wasn’t about isolating those who do drink alcohol.
“This isn’t about telling people not to drink, it’s about having something there for those people who want a different option,” she added.
“This could be because they are driving or just want to go on a health kick for a while, but this trend is growing.”