Mindful drinkers are a diverse bunch

We are only beginning to scrape the surface of the changes in the market as a result of people taking a healthier attitude to alcohol. Last week the British Beer and Pub Association revealed 44% of UK adults have pledged to drink more mindfully and it is clear low and no alcohol drinks are a key moderation tactic. It is not just about abstinence, but instead the result of a whole pattern of shifts driven by everything from sugar free diets to a greater awareness of mental health.

Does this mean that people are deserting the pub?

It seems not. KAM Media found that one in four pub visits are now alcohol-free, with lots of new opportunities for venues to develop their offer earlier in the day and in the week off the back of new low and no alcohol drinks.

Laura Willoughby MBE from Club Soda says “It seems some things have not changed - people still want to go out and spend time with friends. People want to connect in all sorts of social spaces, and clearly we need great tasting drinks to fuel those experiences.”

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Boost footfall and profits

So how can venues tap into this new movement?

At PUB20, we’ll show how easy it is to turn your venue into a great place for mindful drinkers at our bespoke mindful bar space. You taste over 50 different low and no alcohol drinks on our bar and hear insights from some of the most exciting voices in the industry.

Done correctly, an extensive low and no alcohol menu can have multiple benefits for your bottom line: increasing footfall, dwell times and overall profitability.

There has been a dramatic increase in the number, style and quality of non-alcoholic products on the market. Mainstream acquisitions, such Diageo buying Seedlip, have made these drinks much more accessible.

With this in mind, we’ve collaborated with Distill Ventures to give you a simple introduction on how to tailor your venue to attract mindful drinkers.

Three steps to a attracting mindful drinkers

1. Taste itheinekan

The simplest way of deciding which products best fit your venue is by tasting them. There’s lots of choice out there: so think about the customers you’re aiming for and what products will appeal to them.

“Consumers want choice in everything they do, and that extends to their food and drink,” says Shilen Patel, Co-Founder of Distill Ventures.

“Historically, there weren’t a lot of drinks options for non-drinkers - think sugary sodas and juices. It’s only natural that a category is beginning to form to suit the needs of this changing consumer behaviour”

Run a craft beer bar? Try alcohol-free beers like Lucky Saint, Nirvana or Drop Bear Beer. If gin’s more your thing, Caleno, Atopia or Stryyk all offer exciting flavours.

It’s important to remember that, as in your alcohol offer, variety is the spice of life. You’d be disappointed if a pub served only one kind of alcoholic drink, so don’t assume one low/no option is all you need.

2. Trial it

The best way to find out if your customers are interested in low and no alcohol products is by putting them out there for them to try.

“When we see more of the hospitality industry globally offering a great range, we’ll be able to get a sense of what the market demand looks like’, says Shilen.

In a recent survey, the British Beer and Pub Association found that 45% of people felt comfortable ordering a low or no alcohol drink at the pub.

“Of the bars and restaurants that we know that have introduced a non-alcoholic offering, not a single one has subsequently scaled that back because of a lack of demand,” says Shilen.

Training your staff well is key to making sure that they can engage your customers in this new category. As well as tasting your non-alcoholic options, you need to make sure your team serves non-alcoholic drinks with the same care and attention as alcoholic options.

Celtic SoulEncourage them to think of non-alcoholic drinks as something they can upsell to customers. The rise of craft beer and gin have shown consumers are willing to pay more for speciality products. Non-alcoholic options offer you a high-end speciality alternative to traditional softs.

3. Promote it

Like anything new to your range, you need to let customers know it’s available.

Make sure your drinks are well placed in the venue. Putting them at the bottom of your fridge or in a dusty corner of your back bar is unlikely to entice people in.

Consumers can also be shy of directly asking for low and no alcohol drinks. So if they can’t see them, they’re unlikely to request them. This has similar implications for your menu design. Creating a separate section of low and no alcohol drinks makes them easy to find for anyone who might be interested, and also draws attention to your offer.

You can also use online promotion to bring customers in who are specifically looking for a decent selection of low and no alcohol drinks. Advertising your new options on social media is a great place to start, as is signing up to the Club Soda Guide which lists over 3000 venues and their alcohol-free choices.

After all that…

Once you’ve given these three steps a go, you can sit back and take stock. Ask yourself how well the low and no alcohol drinks did.

If they didn’t sell well ask a few smart questions. Were they right for your venue? How were they advertised? Were they priced right?

If they sold well, don’t rest on your laurels! Think about your next steps and how you can continue to make the most of the mindful drinking trend – satisfying your customers and your bottom line.

“We expect to see even better drinks serving a broader range of consumers, occasions and price points in the future,” concludes Shilen.


Learn more about how you can turn your pub into a great place for mindful drinkers at the Club Soda DrinkX, in collaboration with Distill Ventures, at PUB20.