What is Club Soda?
Club Soda is the Mindful Drinking Movement™. We welcome everyone who wants to change their drinking, whether they want to moderate or go alcohol-free. Oh, and you’re welcome to join even if you’ve never had a drop of alcohol in your life. We’re based in the UK, but our members are all over the world.
What does Club Soda do?
An essential part of our work is supporting people who want to change their drinking. We do this in lots of different ways including
- Running short courses
- Providing advice and information
- Signposting real-world events where you can socialise alcohol-free.
But we also want to make the world a better place for people who aren’t drinking alcohol, as well as people who are. So we promote choice in the low and no alcohol drinks market through our Mindful Drinking Festivals and other events. And we work with pubs, bars and the hospitality industry to improve their offer to people who are not drinking alcohol through the Club Soda Guide.
How can I join Club Soda?
Anyone can join Club Soda. There are many other ways to get involved too, and the best way to find out about them all is to sign up to our email newsletter.
How is Club Soda funded?
We do this because we love it, but we have bills to pay and mouths to feed like everyone else.
Our funding comes from a variety of sources, including
- Sales of online courses to individuals through our website
- Small contributions from individuals members
- Events and workshops
- Affiliate deals and advertising
- Sales of our book
- Alcohol-free drink brands, in the form of sponsorship of our events such as our regular Mindful Drinking Festivals, participation on our Club Soda Guide, and advertising to our individual members in our weekly email newsletters
- Grant funding from local authorities and charitable foundations like the Wellcome Trust.
Our festivals, Guide and some of our other projects are sponsored and supported by drinks companies. We are clear with them that being members of Club Soda and supporting us as the Mindful Drinking Movement doesn’t give them a say in how we work or what we do. Our independence is important to us.
What is Mindful Drinking?
Mindful drinking is about becoming more aware of how your body and mind are affected by alcohol, and how you use alcohol to relate to the people around you. Mindful drinkers notice, learn and ultimately take control of their drinking.
So what does mindful drinking look like? Many mindful drinkers moderating their drinking habits. For example, some mindful drinkers choose lower alcohol drinks, or drink fewer drinks each day, or stop drinking on weekdays, or do a longer sober sprint. And some people go completely alcohol-free.
Remember: even in our alcohol-centric society, drinking alcohol is never compulsory. Ever.
Mindful drinking is all about deciding what is right for you, today, at this moment. You are never powerless. You are always in control.
Read more in our What is Mindful Drinking article.
Is 0.5% beer alcohol-free?
Club Soda considers drinks 0.5% and below to be alcohol-free.
No alcohol license is needed to sell them in the UK, and 0.5% means a small amount of alcohol only. The truth is that anything that goes through a natural fermentation process has a trace of alcohol. And many foods and drinks do, including vinegar, bananas, bread, fruit juices and even lemonade.
Labelling on this is inconsistent. Some products have to state their alcohol content (abv), while others don’t. Some drinks can be called alcohol-free, while very similar drinks can’t.
You can buy a soft drink, like alcohol-free ginger beer and some kombuchas, that are up 0.5% but don’t need to say so, as they are in the soft drink category. Sprite is 0.05%. Desserts and foodstuffs don’t need an abv even though many will contain over 0.5% alcohol.
A 0.5% beer from elsewhere in the world can be called alcohol-free in the UK, if it is deemed so in their home country, but a beer produced here cannot.
The bottom line is you would have to drink huge amounts of these drinks to feel the effects of the alcohol. And some research suggests you physically cannot become intoxicated by drinking 0.5% alcohol drinks, making them suitable even for people who avoid alcohol for religious reasons.
Can alcohol-free drinks help me?
We know alcohol-free drinks can be really helpful in reducing your drinking and going alcohol-free. But it is an individual choice.
Alcohol-free drinks are generally lower in calories and sugar-free, so if you are looking to lose weight or sugar triggers you to drink alcohol, this can actually be a good alternative to coke and lemonade and other fizzy drinks.
So why do some alcohol services say you should stay away from alcohol-free beers and wines? It is important to know why this advice is given. It is not because of the alcohol content, or you would have to avoid soy sauce, vinegar, orange juice, bananas and even the alcohol created every day by your own stomach. It’s because a drink that tastes like an alcoholic drink could trigger you to drink the real thing.
Only you can tell if an alcohol-free drink triggers you. Some people decide to avoid non-alcoholic beers and wines, and that’s fine by us. We think choice is good for everyone.
Are there any books about alcohol you can recommend?
Our own book – How to Be a Mindful Drinker – is out now.
We also know that reading quit lit can really help when you are changing your drinking, particularly if you choose to go alcohol-free. You can find all our favourites on Amazon UK and Amazon US. And a few more books we recommend in our shop. We get a few pennies from Amazon for every book sold through these links too, so do take a look!