Mindful drinking: Blenheim’s innovative approach to drinking less

Blenheim has recently been collaborating with Club Soda on a pioneering new project to encourage more mindful drinking.

VST-ClubSoda-ElectricityShowrooms-21With more and more people looking to cut back on their drinking, the collaboration showed an innovative approach for an alcohol misuse charity, looking at changing the behaviour of licensed venues rather than the customer, encouraging them to provide better low and no alcohol options.

We’re looking at helping people to cut back by giving them the opportunity to choose a healthier option in a place where they would normally drink alcohol, inspiring them to drink mindfully. This means changing the way you think and feel about alcohol, and becoming more aware of how it affects you. As part of the partnership we produced the Club Soda Guide, a list of the best bars and pubs to drink at in Hackney and the City of London if you’re looking to reduce your alcohol intake or stop drinking altogether.

We also created RebootMy.Life, a website designed to test customers’ appetite for finding out more about changing their habits, whilst looking for information online to plan for a night out. The site links to fact sheets, local support, and even a short test for those who are concerned they may be drinking too much.

The research shows that non alcoholic alternatives on a night out are a serious consideration for many, with over half of those surveyed stating that the choice of low and no alcohfirst-mindful-pub-crawl_31987908562_ool drinks on offer affects their choice of venue. The stats make sense when you consider that 1 in 7 customers in a venue won’t be drinking, whether it’s because they’re driving, on a health kick or just generally trying to cut back. Overall in the UK, over 5 million people are actively looking at changing their drinking habits.

There are now over 200 venues listed in the Guide, helping people who don’t want to drink pick a bar where they can join in the fun without feeling like an outsider. Of those venues, a whole 42 have been awarded our prestigious 5* rating, meaning that they have an excellent choice of non alcoholic alternatives, including non alcoholic beers and mocktails.

Part of what makes this initiative unique is how it places the emphasis on enabling those who want to quit or drink less to do so without drastically changing their routine or missing out on events. We put the power in the hands of consumers, who can review venues online based on their experience there to complement the Guide’s rating.

A problem often facing mindful drinkers is that, whilst there may be alternatives to the alcoholic drinks on the menu, they’re not always displayed on the menu or behind the bar. For this reason, the Guide’s rating system rewards venues which clearly display non alcoholic options.

John Jolly, CEO of Blenheim said: “Blenheim are committed to working in innovative ways and campaigning for positive change in the alcohol and drug sector. This new project is an exciting opportunity for us to work with new partners and develop new tools to promote behaviour change with a wider audience.”

Laura Willoughby MBE, Club Soda said: “We know that there is an appetite from everyone for a grown-up conversation about mindful drinking; sourcing the best products, publicising the best venues, and adding more dimensions to a night (or day) in the pub. We were bowled over by the enthusiasm of the venues, the customers and the media.”

Penny Bevan, Director of Public Health at Hackney Council said: “Through the council’s Healthier Hackney Fund, we are supporting organisations to test new ways of addressing some of our biggest public health challenges. We hope that this initiative will empower customers, as well as pubs and bars themselves, to talk more openly about the choices and opportunities for people who want to drink a bit less alcohol on a night out. A quarter of 16-24 year olds don’t drink, so this is about making licensed venues better for everyone.”

Notes:

  • Hackney Council and The City of London have part-funded this project, and they see this as a positive way to diversify the business and social life of London
  • Blenheim and Club Soda successfully submitted a Grant application to Hackney with Blenheim as lead contractor and Club Soda as sub-contractor for the delivery of a project funded through the Hackney Council Healthier Hackney Grant to:
    • Develop a self-assessment tool and customer rated award scheme for licensed venues to demonstrate how they are promoting sensible drinking
    • Build and promote a website to signpost customers who want to cut down on their drinking to relevant services
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