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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Club Soda?

Club Soda is a Mindful Drinking Movement. It was founded by Laura in 2014, and Jussi joined as a co-founder soon after. They have been working on Club Soda full-time ever since. We welcome everyone who wants to change their relationship with alcohol, whether to cut down, stop for a bit, or quit, those who have already made a change and want to stick to their goals, and those who want to join the movement – you are welcome to join even if you’ve never had a drop of alcohol in your life. Read more about us.

How can I join Club Soda?

You can sign up to Club Soda (it’s free!) to get our weekly motivational emails, or you can join us on Facebook, or on MeetUp for our London socials and events. We also organise Queers Without Beers, a monthly sober LGBT social, with our partners London Friend.

What is “Mindful Drinking”?

There’s no easy answer to that! But we try to explain mindful drinking here.

What is Pay What You Want?

Club Soda membership is free – we want to make sure that lack of money is never a reason not to change your drinking habits. But everything costs money, and we have to live too, so we welcome donations to keep us going from those of our members that can afford to support us.

Who funds Club Soda?

Our members (see above) and people who join our workshops and online programmes. We also work with employers, pubs and bars, and organise events. We have had a small business loan, and a bit of investment from Bethnal Green Ventures, and used our personal savings to fund Club Soda.

Is 0.5% beer alcohol-free?

Club Soda considers drinks 0.5% and below to be alcohol-free.

No alcohol license is needed to sell them in the UK, and 0.5% means a small amount of alcohol only. The truth is that anything that goes through a natural fermentation process has a trace of alcohol. And many foods and drinks do: like vinegar, overripe bananas and other fruit, bread, juices, and even lemonade.

Also labeling on this is inconsistent. Some products have to state their alcohol content (the “ABV”), while others don’t. Some drinks can be called “alcohol-free”, while very similar drinks can’t.

You can buy a soft drink (alcohol-free ginger beer for example and some kombutchas) that are up 0.5% but don’t need to say so, as they are in the ‘soft drink’ category. Sprite is 0.05%. Desserts and food stuffs don’t need an abv even though many will contain over 0.5% alcohol.

A 0.5% beer from elsewhere in the world can be called alcohol-free in the UK (if it is deemed so in their home country) but a beer produced here cannot.

The bottom line is you would have to drink huge amounts of these drinks to feel the effects of the alcohol (like 10 bottles of 0.5% beer to get to one unit!)

Can alcohol-free drinks help me?

We know alcohol-free drinks can be really helpful in reducing your drinking and going alcohol-free. But it is an individual choice.

Alcohol-free drinks are generally lower in calories and sugar-free so if you are looking to lose weight or sugar triggers you to drink alcohol this can actually be a good alternative to coke and lemonade and other sugary fizzy drinks.

Why do some alcohol services say you should stay away from alcohol-free beers and wines?
It is important to know why this advice is given. It is not because of the % of alcohol (otherwise you would have to avoid soy sauce, vinegar, orange juice, bananas and even your own stomach!) but because a drink that tastes like the alcoholic drink you once used too much could trigger you to drink the real thing.

Only you can tell if an alcohol-free drink triggers you. Some people decide to avoid non-alcoholic beers and wines and that’s fine by us.

In the end, only you can decide where you draw the line between “not alcohol” and “alcohol”.

Are there any books about alcohol you can recommend?

Yes, there are dozens that have helped our members achieve their goals, and been recommended by them. Find the full list of our recommended books on drinking.

How do I start changing my drinking habits?

We have collected together a series of articles that will help you get started, whether you want to cut down, or quit alcohol completely. You may also want to read some inspirational personal stories from Club Soda members, and find a few non-alcoholic drink recommendations.