Shaking up the alcohol debate in Scotland

Posted 11.10.2018

Club Soda, the mindful drinking movement that helps people to change their drinking habits, is bringing its wildly successful Mindful Drinking Festival to The Briggait in Glasgow this Saturday, 13thOctober (12 noon – 6pm).

The Mindful Drinking Festival in association with Heineken 0.0 will give Scots the opportunity to taste more than 30 low and no-alcohol drinks and provide food for thought around the nation’s ongoing love affair with alcohol. There will be discussions, mixology demonstrations, entertainment and much more.

One in five drinkers in Scotland are looking to reduce the amount of alcohol they drink and there are a million Scots who don’t drink at all.

Club Soda co-founder, Laura Willoughby, hopes the festival will showcase the new wave of alcohol-free drinks available and inspire Glasgow’s bars and restaurants to meet the needs of this untapped market.

She said, “When we launched our first festival in London last year, we immediately got requests from Club Soda members and organisations in Glasgow to bring the event to Scotland.

“You get a sense that there’s a shift in attitudes up here with our movement tapping in to growing demand for alternatives to alcohol from young people, parents-to-be, responsible drivers, foodies and fitness fanatics, to name but a few. It’s an exciting time to be coming to Scotland and we’re delighted to be playing our part in shaking up the alcohol debate.”

Public Health Minister Joe FitzPatrick added, “It’s no secret Scotland has a troubled relationship with alcohol, with nearly 700 hospital admissions and an average of 22 deaths per week from alcohol misuse.

“A key milestone in tackling this was the introduction of minimum unit pricing earlier this year, which will save lives, reduce hospital admissions and, ultimately, have positive impacts across our communities. Our refreshed Alcohol Preventative Framework will also be published in the autumn.

“Initiatives such as the Mindful Drinking Festival are always welcome, providing people with the opportunity to have a good time in a friendly, sociable environment while enjoying an alternative to alcoholic drinks.”

The potential for the festival to help reduce alcohol harm is not lost on the Glasgow-based, National Lottery funded programme, Drink Wise, Age Well. Drinking above the government’s guidelines for weekly alcohol consumption is declining in every other age group bar the over 50s.

Drink Wise, Age Well helps the over 50s to make healthier choices about alcohol and is running workshops at the event to provide people with information and inspiration if they are looking to cut back.

Drink Wise, Age Well Locality Manager, Graeme Callander said, People aged over 50 are likely to have grown up in a culture of drinking and may increasingly look to alcohol to help them cope with stressful situations whether at work, or in later life transitions such as retirement and bereavement. Scotland’s relationship with alcohol is deep-rooted. That’s why events like this are so important to help bring about cultural change.”

One in four Scots (24%) are drinking at hazardous or harmful levels, defined as exceeding the government’s recommended guidelines of no more than 14 units per week.

There’s more information on this weekend’s Mindful Drinking Festival at