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Meet the team behind Club Soda

Over the past few years, Club Soda has grown from an idea into a community of mindful drinkers with members all over the world, supported by a small and busy staff team.

Club Soda is a social impact business. We’re inspired by behaviour change science, mindful approaches to life and the experiences of changing our drinking. We believe passionately in a world where people have better choices of alcohol-free drinks. And we love making the connections that help people grow. If you can help us create a world where nobody feels out of place if they’re not drinking alcohol, get in touch.

Want to get to know us? Discover more about:

Laura Willoughby

Laura Willoughby

Co-founder and director of partnerships (she/her but no title prefix)

Email Laura or connect with her on Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn

What does your typical day at Club Soda look like?

I spend a lot of time talking to people. I’m often working on ideas for the future, developing partnerships that will be useful and talking to members in our community as well. I give people access to my diary so I have a ton of meetings all the time, but it’s where I get my energy from. Great things can happen the more we talk to others. 

Why should someone get in touch with you?

The bottom of my email has a “please nudge me if I don’t reply” message, because sometimes my inbox can get over full. But collaboration energises me and makes me excited, so get in touch if you’ve got an idea about how we can work together. And do contact me if you want to write about us in the media.

What are your experiences of changing your drinking?

I gave up eight years ago, because I am a dickhead with booze. My experiences inspired me to create Club Soda, because I felt there was something missing to help people on a self-guided journey to change their drinking habits. I’d characterise my drinking now as “just not interested” – I’ve got the life I want (mostly) and there is nothing that alcohol could do to make it better.

What are your favourite alcohol-free drinks?

I’m a big kombucha fan, but especially those made with specific teas, rather than fruit-flavoured ones. For me, they replicate the beautiful acidity of a scrumpy cider. I also have a very expensive loose-leaf tea habit.

What’s the best thing about Club Soda?

Collaboration is at the heart of everything we do. So if you are looking to change your drinking, Club Soda members will help you by sharing their experiences and knowledge. And if we don’t know the answers, we’ll find the right people to help you. We don’t believe there’s a one size fits all, so we’re all about helping you find the right path for you.

Laura’s top blog picks

Dru Jaeger

Co-founder and director of programmes (they/them)

Email Dru or connect with Dru on Instagram and LinkedIn

What does your typical day at Club Soda look like?

I’m responsible for all of Club Soda’s courses and workshops, and I write a weekly advice column, so I spend a lot of time thinking about drinking! I spend as much time as I can writing and doing research, to find new ways to support people through times of change. A lot of what I do is behind the scenes, but I run a weekly mindfulness meditation and discussion group for people doing our courses and it’s one of the highlights of my week.

Why should someone get in contact with you?

If you’re thinking about your drinking and wondering if Club Soda can help, I’m always happy to chat. I’d love to hear from people running corporate wellbeing days, and anyone who wants to positively influence the drinking culture of their workplace or profession too. We can do stuff together to make a difference.

What are your experiences of changing your drinking?

My early thirties especially were a mess, as I got drunk and high to cope with depression, anxiety and trauma. So changing my relationship with alcohol has been a lot about my development as a human being: learning to be comfortable in my own skin, dealing better with my mental health and discovering how to live well. I drink very rarely these days, and I’m happy.

What are your favourite alcohol-free drinks?

Alcohol-free beer has been a game-changer for me, and I’m excited about the emerging alcohol-free red wines and dark spirits. Drinking less has had the side effect of revealing my sensitivity to caffeine. But I’m holding on to the ritual of hand grinding beans for morning coffee in my favourite mug!

What’s the best thing about Club Soda?

Our team is amazing and I’m proud of what we achieve together. I occasionally get messages from people about the impact we’ve had on them, and it’s humbling to know that we’re doing good in the world.

Dru’s top blog picks

Jussi Tolvi

Co-founder and director of operations (he/him)

Email Jussi or connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn

What does your typical day at Club Soda look like?

Can we show the picture of Edvard Munch’s The Scream? But seriously, I’m in charge of all the finances, legal, HR, technology and operational stuff. One day we’ll call me a COO, but we’re still a small team and there is a lot to do, so I do lots of different things.

Why should someone get in contact with you?

I run our festivals and sort out logistics and brand engagement, so contact me with any questions about those things. And if there’s important stuff that nobody else wants to deal with, come to me! I also seem to get a lot of contacts from sober dance party organisers.

What are your experiences of changing your drinking?

I realised one day that I was a mindful drinker before it was cool. I started considering change twenty years ago and it took me about ten years to get there. I was a weekend binge drinker, but as I got older, my hangovers got worse and getting drunk just wasn’t fun anymore. I took a year and a half teetotal break and something clicked. Now I have the occasional beer or glass of wine, but that’s it.

What are your favourite alcohol-free drinks?

Beer, obviously, but there are some drinks in every category that I like. I love the small brands who are passionate and dedicated to what they are doing. You can taste it in the product when it’s made with love.

What’s the best thing about Club Soda?

People. Club Soda isn’t just about our individual members, but drinks brands, venues and all the stakeholders we interact with. The vast majority are lovely people and it’s a joy to work with them. There’s something different about food and drink – it can be the nicest industry to work in.

Jussi’s top blog picks

Anja Madhvani

Meet the Club Soda team Anja Madhvani

Content editor and drinks writer (she/her)

Email Anja or connect with her on Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn

What does your typical day at Club Soda look like?

I work three days a week with Club Soda, and I oversee all the content for the Club Soda website. I also write blogs, from drinks recipes and what’s new, to case studies and the occasional bit of course material. I also add drinks and brands to the Guide, which is an amazing resource for finding the best alcohol-free drinks and the places that stock them.

Why should some get in touch with you?

If you’re interested in writing for Club Soda, or you’ve got an interesting story to tell, get in touch. As well as working for Club Soda, I still work with two breweries, so I have a fair insight into consumer demands. So get in touch if you’re interested in industry trends.

What are your experiences of changing your drinking?

I’ve worked in beer for almost 13 years, and I haven’t always been a good drinker. It’s tough to work around alcohol and have a balanced relationship with it. Over the last three and a half years, I’ve put a lot of energy into changing my drinking. I’m now someone who eats well, drinks moderately, takes long periods of abstinence, sleeps eight hours a night, and is generally far more stable. It feels so good to be in control of the way I drink, and it has changed my life for the better.

What are your favourite alcohol-free drinks?

I’m a flavour monster, so there are very few drinks that I don’t love! I’m very health conscious, so I’m always after nice drinks that won’t eat up my calorie budget, and that are clean and grown-up. Oh, and I’m a huge fan of an alcohol-free fizz.

What’s the best thing about Club Soda?

Club Soda works on so many levels, and there’s a huge community of people that will support and motivate you through your whole journey. But the work that goes on behind the scenes to lobby venues to stock better options for non-drinkers is almost more important. Club Soda works to change the world you live in for the better.

Anja’s top blog picks

Josh Kelly

Community support, queer lead and events (he/him)

Email Josh or connect with him on Instagram

What does your typical day at Club Soda look like?

There are lots of different areas that I’ve got responsibility for supporting, like social media, finance and courses. I work for Club Soda four days a week, and so far, there’s no such thing as a typical day.

Why should some get in touch with you?

If you’ve got a question and you don’t know who to direct it to, bounce it to me. I can let you know who to pass it on to and make sure you get an answer.

What are your experiences of changing your drinking?

My husband and I went alcohol-free for six months, then he continued for a year just to see what it was like. It was interesting how people’s reaction changes to you a bit and we had some good conversations with friends who’ve known us for a long time. I noticed the changes when I started drinking again too; there are some things I just don’t want to drink now. I challenged my local as well, and I found they were open to serving more alcohol-free options.

What are your favourite alcohol-free drinks?

There are some excellent beers. There are some that are so good, people don’t often realise they are alcohol-free. I’m wheat-free, so that reduces the range of beers available to me, but it’s been interesting to discover some options. I’ve really enjoyed sparking wines and I love a shrub.

What’s the best thing about Club Soda?

We’re real people. We’ve got a diverse range of attitudes and personalities, and there’s a real human heart to it. We really care. And I think that comes across in the work that we do.

Josh’s top blog picks

Nic Rattle

Non-executive director (she/her but no title prefix)

Connect with Nic on Instagram and LinkedIn

Aside from being a Club Soda board member, what do you do?

I work with Oxford Brookes Business School as a consultant on a range of projects, including running a network for scaling businesses and managing a leadership development programme. I’m also an ICF qualified coach and work with both executive and private clients. Having just finished an MBA, I’m now planning to start a PhD in September.

What are your experiences of changing your drinking?

I’ve never been able to drink a lot because I’d always be physically sick the moment I drunk a drop too much. As I’ve got older I’ve become more aware of how alcohol makes me feel afterwards – not sleeping as well, feeling sluggish the next day. This doesn’t seem worth it and so I’ve drunk less and less over time. I still drink occasionally but little, high quality and often stuff with an interesting provenance.

What are your favourite alcohol-free drinks?

There are some great alcohol free beers now and we always keep a good selection in the house. I also like bitter and sour flavours so enjoy kombuchas, shrubs, bitters. I love good quality, loose leaf tea and that’s generally what I drink day in day out.

What’s the best thing about Club Soda?

That it’s both non-judgemental and supportive – both the Club Soda philosophy and the team. They’re such a brilliant group of people; it’s a privilege to be involved.

Rob Kidd

Non-executive director (he/him)

Connect with Rob on Instagram and LinkedIn

Aside from being a Club Soda board member, what do you do?

I’m a freelance management consultant specialising in technology projects and business change. I’m also a lecturer in project management, chair of a charity working with homeless young people and a board advisor.

What are your experiences of changing your drinking?

I worked in and ran pubs, bars and restaurants from the age of 18. Although I drank as a teenager, I usually had to drive home from working in the pub, and it became easier just not to drink any alcohol at all. Given these were my formative years, I never got into the habit of drinking. So I’ve never had to quit or even cut down, but I’m still very interested in hospitality venues offering more than a choice of coke or lemonade.

What are your favourite alcohol-free drinks?

Coffee.

What’s the best thing about Club Soda?

The intellectual challenge, the wonderful people, and the seemingly endless supply of kombucha.


Get in touch with Club Soda

Delivery address: We’re a team that works where we are, so contact us first if you need to send us something in the mail.

Registered address (for official notices only): 30 Opus Studios, 214 Plaistow Road, London E13 0AQ.

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