The number of British adults who consume alcohol is at its lowest since 2005, and a new generation of booze-free spirits offer a welcome alternative to lemonade. But which is better, a strawberry sour or an old fashioned made with ‘Whissin’?
On a warm Sunday afternoon, hundreds of people are milling around what is usually the site of an antiques fair or farmers’ market in Bermondsey, south London. Today, it’s a festival dedicated to drinking. There’s live music, a Heineken stand, a few craft brewers, some cocktails-in-cans, and a smattering of wine vendors. But nothing from these stalls will get you drunk. This is Club Soda’s Mindful Drinking festival, and there’s not an ABV label in sight.
If you’re not drinking alcohol, try going into a pub and asking what they have got for you. In most places you’ll be offered fizzy pop, perhaps a fruit juice. There may even be a dusty bottle of low-alcohol beer that tastes like soda water, sawdust and coins mixed together in a dirty bath. The message seems to be that non-drinkers should sequester themselves away in a bricked-up tower, never to be touched by fun or nights out again.