Frequently Asked Questions

This is the Club Soda Guide FAQ, answering your frequently asked questions.

For venues

How do I add my venue?

If your venue is not already on the map, you can easily add it yourself: just click on “Add Listing” at the top menu on the front page, and follow a couple of easy steps! If you have any problems, email Jussi for help!

If someone’s already added your venue you will see it on the map. If you find the venue(s) you own or manage, click on the arrow pointing to your venue, then the venue name, and then “Business Owner?. You’ll be asked to set up your account, and once your email has been confirmed, you can take over the venue profile.

How do I set up an account?

Just add your listing as in the previous question – your account will be created at the same time.

What’s this “Club Soda” score?

The score is just an easy way of measuring how good your range of low and no alcohol drinks is. You can compare how you’re doing against your neighbours, or similar pubs and bars elsewhere. When the Guide goes public, customers will also be able to see which venues have a better selection of drinks for them.

How does the score work?

The questions in the self-assessment just ask how many low and no alcohol beers, wines and ciders, soft drinks and mocktails you stock (if you do mocktails). You get points for each question, and a final score out of five. You can always come back and redo your score again, after you change what you serve.

How can I improve my score?

At the end of the self-assessment, we’ll give you some suggestions. You can read case studies from pubs and bars around the UK for inspiration. These are venues that do something special: they make a profit and serve their customers by serving a better range of drinks than the average venue.

Will it always be free?

The guide has been funded by the City of London and Hackney Council, as well as funding from Big Lottery Fund’s Awards for All and the RSA. Our aim is to keep it free, and after this first year we will be looking to work with the pub and drinks sector to look at funding options.

Why should I care?

I don’t want my venue listed here

Ok, that’s a shame. Ping us an email at jussi@joinclubsoda.co.uk or call 0790 550 8251 and we’ll delete your listing.

For both customers and venues

What is the Guide and why?

30% of your adult customers won’t be drinking and they are likely to have planned ahead where the whole party are going based the choice and range of drinks for the non-drinker in the gang.

The most common reason, apart from driving, that customers are not drinking is that they do not fancy an alcoholic drink at that time. But for those that are on a health kick a non-alcoholic beer or wine is not only low in calories but also has no added sugar – allowing them to be out with friends and not break their goals.

Add to this the the growing number of people moderating their drinking (1 in 5 people), and an emerging market of teetotal under 25 year olds the market is shifting quickly.

Many pubs and bars are making good margins selling premium soft drinks alongside their regular offering. The Club Soda Guide not only helps you boast about what you do have behind the bar but helps you find new products and ideas that your customers will love and keep them coming back for more. !

Who runs this?

Club Soda – we’re a Shoreditch-based startup for all mindful drinkers.

We’ve had great support in this project from our partners Blenheim, a leading charity that has been supporting people with alcohol and substance misuse issues across London for 50 years.

The development of this website has been supported financially by the City of London, Hackney Council, Big Lottery Fund, and the RSA, and we’ve had great practical help and advice from Lewis Silkin and many others.

Why low and no alcohol drinks?

We know people love going to the pub, even if they don’t want to get drunk. Many lower alcohol and alcohol-free beers, ciders and wines are fantastic drinks, and are generally better for you as a result.

What about sugar and calories?

Non-alcoholic beer has no added sugar and is a close second to tap water in terms of being the healthiest thing you can drink in a pub – a bottle can have as little as 27 calories and there is no added sugar. Soft drinks do usually have sugar in them, so we have put together a great list of local craft sodas which have much less sugar than the stuff you usually find behind the bar. So whatever health kick your customer is on you have something for them.

What does “non-alcoholic” mean?

Legally, anything that is less than 0.5% ABV alcohol. So “non-alcoholic” beers do have a tiny bit of alcohol in them. If that’s an issue for you, don’t drink them.  But it would be nearly impossible to get drunk from drinking them, and fruit juices have a trace of alcohol in them too (as do bananas, for example!). Pubs  do not need a licence to serve anything 0.5% or under.

What is “low alcohol”?

Yeah, this one’s a bit tricky… Legally and for the taxman (and the taxwoman), “low alcohol” is between 0.5% and 1.2% ABV. There are not many drinks around in the UK that fall into this category. So see the next question.

Why is your “lower alcohol” under 3% and 8%?

Law and tax rules aside (see previous question), if you are trying to cut down, having a 2.5% ABV pint rather than a 5% ABV pint reduces your alcohol intake by half. Most beers are between 4% and 5%, so we thought less than 3% would be enough of a reduction to make a difference if you are moderating your drinking. Same with wines: they tend to be 10-15% ABV, so we thought a “lower alcohol wine” would be under 8% ABV. No science here, sorry…

For customers

How do I rate and review a venue?

Find them first – either from the map, or by using the search boxes. Click on the venue your want to rate, then click “Review” and there you are!

What exactly am I meant to be rating?

You can give four ratings: overall, visibility of the low and no alcohol drinks, and customer service. The last three are optional. For range, think about how many low and no alcohol options the venue has: 0% beers, soft drinks, juices, whatever you’d like to drink! For visibility, think about how easy it is to see what’s on offer: is the one lonely bottle of 0% beer at the bottom of the fridge on the far left? Or is it the first thing you see behind the bar? Do they advertise what they have anywhere: on chalkboards, menus, etc? For customer service: were they friendly and helpful when you asked about lower alcohol wine (or whatever)? Or did they just take the piss?

What exactly am I meant to be reviewing?

You can see the Club Soda score for some venues – that will give you an idea of how good their selection of low and no alcohol drinks is, so you don’t have to talk about that (unless you have something to add, or they don’t actually serve what they say they serve). But feel free to add any comments that you think would be useful for other customers!

What happens to my ratings and reviews?

Club Soda will read them all, and we will use them to give awards to the best pubs and bars in Hackney. We will also analyse them to see if anything changes: do pubs serve more 0% beers than last year? Is there more choice in adult soft drinks?

Are the reviews anonymous?

Yes, unless you want to use your own name. You can create an anonymous username, but please read the terms and conditions on what you can’t say in the reviews (lies or anything nasty about anyone).

Is 0.5% really non-alcoholic?

Some of the drinks we recommend contain up to 0.5% of alcohol by volume. You do not need a licence to serve anything 0.5% or under.

To put this into context, a glass of orange juice can naturally contain up to 0.5% alcohol. Malt vinegar you put on your chips is about 0.2% alcohol.

Your body will process this alcohol quicker than you consume it. You won’t get drunk by drinking any of these.