Club Soda has conducted several projects of low and no alcohol drinks research. We want to understand how people use these drinks in cutting down or quitting alcohol. The way Club Soda helps people has always been based on behavioural science. We read academic research, talk to scientists, and do our own surveys and studies. You can download our How people become mindful drinkers report for free if you’re interested to read more.
We are also always happy to help academics and students with their studies. For example, we often share invitations to take part in surveys and other research projects to our members. You may also have seen our “Meet the Scholar” webinar series, where we invite scientists to talk about their research to the Club Soda community. The purpose of all this is to make sure that we give the best possible evidence-based advice.
Low and no alcohol drinks research – a new world
Behavioural science on changing your drinking habits is already well established. There is of course still much more that we can learn about that, and Club Soda will continue supporting this research. But we are also leading the way in a whole new field of study: low and no alcohol drinks. The last few years have seen an explosion in the number of new alcohol-free beers, wines, spirits, and other drinks meant to replace alcohol. Club Soda has of course been closely involved in creating and supporting this trend. We have been talking about the drinks, promoting them, and highlighting the best ones at our Mindful Drinking Festivals.
Journalists have written countless articles and reviews about the drinks. Trade magazines have also realised that pubs, bars and restaurants need to start adding more choice on their menus. Club Soda has been leading the way in this as well, with innovative projects. For example, we wrote a report aimed at pubs, bars and restaurants on how to sell more alcohol-free beer. In that report we showed how offering a wider range of drinks is good both for customers and the venues. In another study, we analysed the social media audiences of drink brands.
We also realised that until now, nobody had properly investigated how people use the new low and no alcohol drinks in changing their drinking habits. So we decided to do something about it.
How do people become mindful drinkers?
Earlier this year, we published a major research report called How Brits are Embracing Mindful Drinking. It collates findings we have made over several years. We have observed how people use the Club Soda online drink resources, and interviewed attendees at our festivals. We also conducted a new online survey of our members attitudes to low and no alcohol drinks. And finally, we interviewed over 30 of them on their consumption of low/no drinks.
We discovered that there are many different journeys into mindful drinking or to an alcohol-free life. But almost all of them include alcohol-free drinks, which most people have found to be an excellent help in cutting down their alcohol use. For some, there was an easy switch they have made. If you like alcoholic beer, you can find many great alternatives with less or no alcohol. On the other hand, many wine drinkers have not yet found an alcohol-free wine they like. But many former wine drinkers have realised that alcohol-free beers are actually a good replacement for alcoholic wine.
The report also makes a number of recommendations to further improve matters. These include making alcohol-free drinks more easily available in shops and bars, and creating more opportunities for consumers to try out new drinks. We conclude that the low and no alcohol drinks market still has space to grow.
Drinks taste research
Our latest project concentrates on the taste of drinks, and people’s likes and dislikes. We invited Club Soda members to respond to an online survey. The purpose of this study is to help us recommend alcohol-free drinks to our members. We are building an online quiz which will suggest alcohol-free drinks you might like, based on your previous drinking habits of alcoholic drinks, and what types of drinks you like in general.
The survey responses tell us how much people enjoy sweet, sour or bitter, and bubbly drinks. We found that most people enjoy sparkling drinks, but opinions on sweet, sour and bitter drinks are more mixed. We can also say that almost all Club Soda members like wine, either alcoholic or alcohol-free.
We also got fascinating replies from people on how they describe their favourite drinks. The word cloud at the top of this article is based on the most common words professional drink writers use when reviewing drinks. Club Soda members use much the same words, but with some differences in how often they use them.
What next in low and no alcohol drinks research?
Our next project is to take our research findings and build our online drink recommendation system. We also have plans for further research studies on low and no alcohol drinks. On the one hand, we want to know how they can help more people reduce their alcohol consumption and live a healthier life. And on the other, we want to convince shops and bars to stock a wider variety of drinks by making the business case for them even stronger. And we will keep on sharing our findings with our community of members.