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Five Ways Pub Culture Needs to Adapt to Encourage Non-Drinkers

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The pub is a place of great community, but for many people, it can feel intimidating. That’s especially the case for non-drinkers. However, as a hub of the community, it should really be a place for all: all generations, all genders, all sexual orientations, and beyond.

When it comes to non-drinkers, though, how exactly can the pub become more appealing as a place to socialize and enjoy one another’s company?

Of course, for some people who may suffer from alcohol addiction and be in recovery, it may be that a pub is never going to be an appropriate place to spend time. For others, though, it could be a case of a change of atmosphere and more non-alcoholic options that might be what’s needed.

With around 25 pubs closing every week, something certainly needs to happen to attract new customers, but what can they do more to appeal to the non-drinkers in our society?

Expanded Non-Alcoholic Beverage Options

Naturally, the first port of call can be to offer a more diverse selection of non-alcoholic beverages. That is starting to happen in some more specialized beer pubs, with a wealth of different lager, IPA, and stout 0% alternatives, but so often, it’s just one non-alcoholic lager, and that’s it.

What’s more, pubs may want to expand outside of the typical soft drinks with craft sodas or alcohol-free wines and spirits. This will encourage more non-drinkers as there are options available. It’s exactly the same sort of thing with vegans and restaurants. The more options available, the more likely you’re going to get people with that type of diet visiting your restaurant.

Creative Mocktail Menus

Following on from that, mocktail menus have surged in popularity in recent years, and it’s another way that pub and bar owners can be more innovative in appealing to a non-drinking audience. From fruity spritzers to zesty citrus blends, mocktails offer non-drinkers an opportunity to indulge in a refreshing drink and be part of something that people drinking alcohol are part of, too.

Community Events and Activities

Pubs can foster a real sense of community and, more importantly, inclusivity by hosting different events that suit a wide range of interests. While we often see pub quizzes and comedy nights, think about other events like board game evenings or starting running clubs. 

Art clubs, crafts, and many other events can bring in a new type of audience and encourage non-drinkers to be a part of this community, feeling included, valued, and engaged as a result.

Educational Workshops and Tastings

It may be that people are just intimidated by the pub and don’t really drink due to the social stigma rather than an addiction or aversion to alcohol. While it’s important to encourage responsible drinking, putting on workshops and tastings, offering insight into alcohol, and allowing people to try things in a non-judgemental way can really encourage people to visit your pub.

In fact, you may even want to do a non-alcoholic beer or wine tasting to be inclusive and welcome as many people as possible!

Comfortable and Welcoming Atmosphere

Finally, and most importantly, pubs need to strive to create a comfortable and welcoming environment that caters to the needs of all. 

Too many pubs feel closed off because they feel intimidated by the setting or the atmosphere created by locals. However, landlords should invest in spaces that are conducive to socializing and in staff that are able to put people at ease in the space. This can then make the environment a much warmer place to walk into and put customers at ease to ask the questions they need to about the drinks offered. 

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