Supermarket to take over pub with low-alcohol options

By Emily Hawkins contact

- Last updated on GMT

The Clean Vic: supermarket Sainsbury’s is hosting workshops on low and no-alcohol drinks at London pub
The Clean Vic: supermarket Sainsbury’s is hosting workshops on low and no-alcohol drinks at London pub

Related tags: Alcohol, Beer

Supermarket Sainsbury’s is opening a pop-up pub that will only serve low and no-alcohol drinks, in a bid to promote the category.

The takeover will be run on Wednesday 24 July and Thursday 25 July at the Old Crown pub in Holborn, central London.

Dubbed ‘the Clean Vic’, the pub will only sell drinks that have an alcohol level of 0.5% ABV or lower.

Drinks on the bar will include the UK’s first non-alcoholic whiskey, Celtic Soul, non-alcoholic beers and mocktails made with Seedlip.

The supermarket will run workshops to educate consumers – who must pay a £5 entry fee – on the low-alcohol category.

Exciting spike

Anne Cooper, buyer at Sainsbury’s, said: “We’re seeing a really exciting spike in the no and low-alcohol category at Sainsbury’s, which has been growing since 2001. 

“With an increasing number of products now available, those who want to hold off on alcoholic beverages don’t need to miss out on the experience of enjoying a beer with friends or even a mocktail made with a delicious non-alcoholic distillate.

“From speaking to customers, we know there is still some uncertainty about what these no and low-alcohol products taste like and how they are made. 

Cooper added: “So, our specially curated workshops in the Clean Vic will help customers learn more about these drinks, providing key tasting notes given by the experts.”

Category boom

The interest comes as the non-alcoholic sector has shown big gains in both value and volume sales​ in recent years. 

For example, CGA moving annual total data to 23 February 2019, shows alcohol-free beer volume sales were up 28% with values up over 29% on the on-trade.

The supermarket said it had seen a 31.8% increase in sales of no and low-alcoholic drinks in the past three months in its shops.

Laura Willoughby MBE, founder of the mindful drinking organisation Club Soda​, said she thought the event would be a great chance to promote alcohol-free products.

She added: “At Club Soda, we are a big fan of venues that serve a great mix of drinks. People not drinking, for whatever reason, don’t need separate spaces but want to be welcomed with choice when they go out. 

“New-style venues like Fugitive Motel that have a massive range of low and no-alcohol drinks are becoming more the trend. 

“We want everyone to feel that the pub is for them and that is why clubsodaguide.com, the first guide for mindful drinkers, gives venues a score for how good they are for mindful drinkers. It is free for pubs to join.”

Related topics: Soft & Hot Drinks, Marketing

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