Food & Drink

Brewdog sobers up Dry January dating with first alcohol-free bar

By Elizabeth Cook
January 13 2020, 09.40

Brewdog’s first entirely alcohol-free bar opened in London last week.

As Dry January begins, the Scottish-born brewery launched Brewdog AF, what they call ‘the World’s first alcohol-free beer bar’ in Old Street, welcoming dogs, families and daters.

Synonymous with bearded hipsters since its 2007 inception, Brewdog is now focused on widening their audience, confirmed their head of customer experience, Martin Keith.

“Accessibility is massive to us. When we started, the craft beer market was mainly older men, but I think we’ve been a big part in changing that perception,” he said.

Mr Keith believes the alcohol-free market has gone from quite bad beer, to really great options, and Brewdog AF is opening up choice around alcohol-free settings.

He said: “There are loads of occasions where cafes and coffee shops don’t work.

“Dating in a Starbucks isn’t quite the same as going to a bar, with a good atmosphere and music.”

Camberwell’s Emma Rets, 25, put Brewdog AF to the test on a recent date.

“I stuck to Dry January and this is a good alternative to coffee shops, but it wasn’t our first date thankfully. I think you need alcohol to break the ice for that!”

The dental hygienist and her date drank a 0% Raspberry Blitz and a 0.5% Peach Popsicle, but felt that £7.65 was quite expensive for a round of soft drinks.

Miss Rets said: “The venue feels more geared towards groups than to daters, but my date enjoyed the service and music levels.”

“It’s great for people who don’t want to drink or can’t drink due to religious or medical conditions. They could feel part of the social scene, especially in Old Street.”

Brewdog AF is Brewdog’s 101st site, and will soon host Hip-hop karaoke and bingo events as alternative ways of socialising in an area known for after-work drinking.

Mr Keith said: “You can come out and have a great time without alcohol. People are used to doing these activities with alcohol, so it’s interesting to offer them in a sober environment.”

Throughout January, all of Brewdog’s sites are offering free top-ups on alcohol-free beer.

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