The Next Round: What happens after you change your drinking?

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Callum Hughes pub culture

Callum Hughes on celebrating pub culture alongside sobriety in his new show, Thirst

For actor, writer, and singer Callum Hughes, pub culture has often gone alongside his working and personal life. Having had time to contemplate and write his new show, Thirst, during Covid isolation, Callum realised that he had the opportunity to tell his unique story of addressing his problematic relationship with alcohol while also celebrating the community that pubs provide. Callum jumped at the chance to bridge the gap between changing our drinking and pub culture and broaden the conversation about these two closely linked but rarely discussed topics.

Having posted an advert for his new show on Club Soda’s Events page, co-founder Dru couldn’t wait to chat with Callum about his motivations for creating this funny, moving, and often musical show, and how drinking might have become a problem for him, but pub culture can still be a positive, nurturing environment, even if you’re drinking 0% beer.

Who is our podcast guest, Callum Hughes?

Callum Hughes is an acclaimed actor, playwright and musician, and he is currently on tour around the UK with a show called Thirst, a one-man touring musical show about Callum’s experiences of alcohol and addiction.

The show is essentially a chance for me to celebrate the community of pubs. I owe my career a lot to pubs and the live music industry within those kinds of venues. At the same time I’m addressing my own relationship with alcohol and what happens to your sense of community when the thing that you thought banded together is taken away from you.

Callum Hughes, Thirst

Described as riotous and heart-warming, Callum’s show describes a journey that many Club Soda members will surely recognise; that of a drinking community that feels as though it disappears when we change our drinking. We often talk in our community about losing friends, venues, social atmospheres, and worry about not having the same sense of sociability when we change our drinking. Callum is keen to address this by working with unique art project, Inn Crowd. They aim to support rural pub culture by hosting exciting and inspiring spoken word, poetry and storytelling performances in their pubs, reaching and engaging with a wide range of audiences. By collaborating with Inn Crowd, Callum can bring a story about sobriety to a drinking venue, normalising problem drinking within not just a sober audience, but a drinking one who might not ordinarily have the opportunity to hear such important stories.

One of the things that’s lovely that’s born out of Inn Crowd is that, obviously, we’re doing it in pubs, and I’m encouraging people to bring a beer, I’ll have my alcohol free beer, or my glass of water, wherever, but, you know, kind of have a chat….going into community spaces and giving them a show they might not otherwise have access to was really important to me.

Callum Hughes, Thirst

Where can you watch Thirst?

Catch the next date of the tour this Friday, 20th January, at The Alma Theatre in Blackpool, or on the 28th & 29th January at Vault Festival in London. For more UK tour dates and more information on the show and tickets, visit

How to listen to more great Club Soda podcasts

For thought-provoking disussions with fascinating guests, with topics from pub culture to health, relationships to parenting, tips for giving up and tricks for sticking to your moderations goals, head to your favourite podcast platform. Head to Apple, Google and Spotify and subscribe today to get all our latest news, interviews and drinks reviews.  Find your platform here.

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