Non-alcohol trend is 'cross generational'

Non-alcohol trend is 'cross generational'

Good quality non-alcoholic drinks are really important to revenue, Laura Willoughby, MBE co-founder of Club Soda has told operators.

Speaking to delegates at European Coffee, Tea & Soft Drinks Expo, Willoughby explained how she gave up alcohol seven years ago, due to being a “bit of a dickhead with a drink."

She set up Club Soda, a mindful drinking movement which has 35,000 members, and aims to stop people feeling out of place when they are not drinking.

“They are still people that like to go out to pubs, bars and restaurants but they kept moaning to me about there not being anything interesting to drink,” she said.  

However, she admitted that while here has been some changes in the market, with the launch of new products in the non-alcoholic category, venues still needed to engage with more interesting non-alcoholic offers.

“You can't move for an alcohol-free gin being launched at the moment and there are more alcohol-free beers than you can shake a stick at,” she said.

Willoughby added that venues should be catering for liquid preferences in the same way as they do with food.

“It is still more possible to get a vegan meal in a pub in London than it is to get an alcohol-free beer,” she said.

She added that spend is increasing in this area and, while larger numbers of young people are not drinking, this trend is “cross generational.”

“Good quality alcohol-free drinks are really important for your revenue,” she said.

"Not only do you need to stock it but you need to tell people that you stock it. Whenever anyone comes to you and says ‘Can I have a lime and soda please?’ they are not coming to you because they have been thinking about having a really lovely lime and soda. It is because they don’t believe you have anything else."

She advised venues to be more inclusive, offer better menus with non-alcoholic options, upsell and offer samples.


  • For more information on stands and sponsorship at European Coffee, Tea & Soft Drink Expo 2020, which will take place at London’s Olympia on 19 and 20 May, contact Sukhvir Hayre on +44 (0) 203 668 9809 or email

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