UK's first alcohol-free drinks festival attracts 2,500 attendees

By James Beeson

- Last updated on GMT

Mindful: around 20% of the UK population claims not to drink alcohol at all
Mindful: around 20% of the UK population claims not to drink alcohol at all
The UK’s first ever ‘mindful drinking’ festival took place in London on Sunday (13 August).

The festival, organised by Club Soda, was aimed at the rising number of people choosing to eschew alcohol, as well as those who are just trying to be more sensible with their drinking habits.

Around 2,500 people attended the event in Bermondsey, South London, which featured alcohol-free craft beers, wines, lower-sugar sodas, infusions and expert mixologists.

Among the sponsors of the event were alcohol-free wine brand Eisberg and Maidenhead-based craft beer brewery Big Drop Brewing Co.

Around 20% of the UK population claim not to drink alcohol at all, while one in four people claim that they drink mindfully or moderately.

'Growing market'

Club Soda co-founder Laura Willoughby said that the festival had “exceeded expectations” and showed there was a growing market for alcohol-free alternatives in pubs and restaurants.

“People are becoming more health conscious, and are looking to pick and choose when they drink alcohol a lot more,” she said. “But they still want to go out to the pub and to a restaurant. So they are looking for drinks that fit that occasion; being offered a glass of coke is what happened when you were 10, not what you want when you are 21 or 40."

"Alongside the growing health trend you've got the idea that going out is still a sense of occasion and people want their drink to feel like part of that occasion, whether it has alcohol in it or not. They don't want it to be less of an experience and they don't want it to be unhealthy, so having a glass of coke or lemonade is unsuitable.”

“People still want to use their pubs and go out and be social; that hasn't changed. What has happened is that people's expectation of a good night out has changed."

High quality options

Eisberg’s director of wine Andrew Turner added: “People choosing to go alcohol free, for whatever reason, don’t want to feel excluded from the occasion. Just because you’re not drinking alcohol, it doesn’t mean you want to be restricted by the choices available, and this festival was a great way of showing people the high-quality options available to them.”

Low-alcohol craft beer brewery Big Drop Brewing Co recently announced that it has expanded​ due to a “10-fold” increase in demand for its products. 

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