Low/no alcohol drinks have become increasingly popular in recent years, with consumers wanting alternatives to beers, wines and other alcoholic beverages. And now, the UK’s first non-alcoholic off-licence is opening in London.

Some people are unable to have alcohol medically, or because they don’t want to get drunk, or because they want to still be able to drive home after a night out. Considering that alcoholism got worse during the lockdowns, it’s probably healthier to switch for a low alcohol beer sometimes. Whatever the reason, the low-alcohol off licence, which is opening up on 13th December, will allow you to discover a range of these drinks to try.

Low-alcohol beers have had a pretty bad rap over the years, mostly due to them not tasting great or simply because they don’t make you drunk. The not tasting great bit used to be somewhat true (I did accidentally order one in a pub once, and it tasted like soap), but as somewhat who lives with someone who’s unable to drink currently due to medication, I can tell you that low-alcohol beer has come a long way.

No longer are low-alcohol beers feeble attempts at recreating the stronger stuff. They’re much improved, and even if they don’t taste entirely identical to the drink they’re imitating, they taste nice in their own right. With Christmas coming up, those who want or only can have low-alcohol drinks will definitely watch to check out the new off-licence.

It’s located on Great Portland Street, and just off Regent Street. The shop will serve drinks from over 60 different brands, including Lucky Saint, Lyre’s, and Everleaf. It’s set up and backed by Club Soda, an organisation dedicated to helping stop, or at least moderate, drinking. The company is behind the Mindful Drinking Festival, and a number of other events aimed at sobering up.

The off-licence will have a "drink swap" for the first 50 people to arrive with a bottle of alcohol in hand...

As part of the opening event, the off-licence will have a “drink swap” for the first 50 people to arrive with a bottle of alcohol in hand. The off-licence will swap it for a low-alcohol equivalent, free of charge. Not only that, but it’ll also be hosting some cocktail making, and wine and beer making masterclasses.

The off-licence will only last until the end of January, as it’s a pop-up venue, but presumably if it proves popular Club Soda will endeavour to find a way to open a permanent version. In any case, the time it is open will still allow people to see the benefits low-alcohol drinks offer, especially if they have or know someone who has issues with drinking, or are otherwise unable to. It seems for now low-alcohol drinks are here to stay.


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