Consumers introduced to no & low booze options at Sainsbury’s Clean Vic

Sainsbury’s Clean Vic No & Low Alcohol Pub, the UK’s first no and low alcohol pub opened in London last week, welcoming those looking to cut down on their alcohol intake.

Set in New Oxford Street, the site looked exactly like a traditional pub with bartenders and beer on tap, however everything on offer was in fact entirely non-alcoholic or had an ABV of just 0.5%.

Whilst Sainsbury’s continues to see an increase in sales of no and low alcoholic products, new research shows that over half (53%) of Brits are yet to try one due to worrying about how they’ll taste and not knowing which products to try. In fact, over a quarter (27%) have no idea if their local pubs stock no and low alcoholic alternatives to beers, wines and spirits.

In light of this, punters at The Clean Vic had the choice of over 20 teetotal tipples including the brand-new Celtic Soul - the UK’s first non-alcoholic dark ‘distillate’, which takes the appeal of whisky.

Nearly four in ten (38%) of people have tried to cut down on their alcohol intake in the last year and nearly a quarter (24%) say they see their friends less as a result. The most regularly missed occasions for this reason include a friend’s hen or stag do (15%) and a work colleagues’ birthday or leaving drinks (12%).

As a result, one third (33%) have lost touch with friends since cutting down their alcohol intake – 14% have lost touch with at least three. And almost half (46%) miss spending time in the pub.

For those who do make the trip to the pub but don’t want the booze, it’s common to tell white lies to our friends to stay out of the sober spotlight. The most common made up excuse is illness (34.8%), closely followed by claiming to be on medication (34.5%) and making up an early morning appointment which meant they had to leave. Almost one in ten (9%) even pretended to be pregnant.

There is now so much more to a low ABV drink than just a glass of tonic as those who attended the immersive masterclasses at The Clean Vic found out.

Matt Tibbey, Pub Landlord and mixology masterclass co- host, said, “Working behind the bar at the Old Crown Pub means we’re often part of small schemes to help punters trick their friends into thinking they are drinking alcohol.

'From being asked to dress a glass of soda ‘like a cocktail’ to adding a dash of lime juice to water, it’s clear people aren’t yet aware of the huge selection of quality no and low alcoholic drinks available! I’m looking forward to helping change this as part of this partnership with the Sainsbury’s Clean Vic.”

The Clean Vic No & Low Alcohol pub offered immersive masterclasses for those wanting to know more about no and low ABV drinks. Join Millie Gooch, founder of Sober Girl Society, for a mocktail making masterclass. Guests tried a range of No & Low ABV beers with the beer tasting session led by award-winning beer and pub expert, Jane Peyton.

Millie Gooch of Sober Girl Society said she didn’t let cutting out the booze stop her from going to the pub, “I relate to the 46% of people who said they enjoy the social side of drinking alcohol the most, but I don’t think I truly knew what ‘living your best life’ meant until I gave up alcohol.

“Not only do I still socialise in the evenings but as well as remembering my night, no boozing means I don’t need to write off the next day for a hangover. I always have Sunday morning plans now because I know I’ll stick to them – even if it’s just the gym! Having grown up non-alcoholic drinks I can enjoy with my friends means I really don’t feel like I’m missing out at all.”

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 rocketed since 2015. With one third of Brits claiming to have reduced or limited their alcohol intake** and an increase in the products available, those who want to hold off on alcoholic beverages don’t need to miss out on the experience of enjoying a beer or even a mocktail made with a delicious non-alcoholic ‘distillate’.

'We know from our customers that there is still some uncertainty about what these no and low alcohol products taste like and how they are made. 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.”

Pub goers were guaranteed to find the drink that suited their tastes with this wide selection. From the zesty and tropical taste of Caleño – a tropical infusion of juniper, citrus and botanicals - to the sophisticated bittersweet taste of Everleaf – an aperitif made of 18 natural botanicals - there was something to get everyone in the spirit.

And for the beer enthusiasts, Lucky Saint is a delicious unfiltered lager that has the taste of biscuit malts with a smooth citrus hop finish.