Eat, drink and be merry in Hackney… and sober

Siôn Williams, partner in low-alcohol-bar popup 177 Morning Ln Hackney London E8 290416 © DavidAltheer [at]

A LOW-ALCOHOL popup in a stylish venue is just what some of us drink lovers have been secretly craving — and one opened in Homerton today for just over a week.

Forget about trying to swallow yet another fizzy soft drink or sugar-rich fruit juice: Soft and Wet is offering a range of tasty low or no-alcohol brews, along with bespoke snacks.

Co-founder Ed Cherry told Loving Dalston that with colleague Siôn Williams and friends, he sampled 60 varieties. “Most,” he said, “were useless.”

Laura Willoughby @ 060615 ©
City move: Club Soda’s Willoughby

Now they have settled on a good collection, including some Bavarian wheat beers.

My editor reports that a 500ml  bottle cost him £4 and tasted not unlike a traditionally mildly hopped, malted-wheat Weissbier.

If the popup succeeds, Cherry and Williams will consider opening their own bar.

Tricky… even though a niche market can be good for business, the drinking culture in England means that the difficulty of making it pay is obvious.

Still, it fits well with the campaign run by Club Soda, which was given £38,000 by Hackney council to persuade outlets in Dalston to stock attractive soft drinks.

There has been criticism that the grant could have gone to more deserving health causes but the City of London seems unbothered.

It has invited founder Laura Willoughby to tell the Square Mile’s licensing committee how pubs and bars can make a profit on mocktails, and alcohol-free beer and soft drinks, especially if the bottles are inscribed with the word “craft”.

Siôn Williams, partner in low-alcohol-bar popup 177 Morning Ln Hackney London E8 290416 © DavidAltheer [at]
Low-alcohol: Siôn Williams shows what is on offer at the popup

David Altheer 290416

* Soft and Wet is at Farley Macallan, 177 Morning Lane, Hackney E9 6LH, Fri 29 April 2016-Sun 8 May 2016. See site for times.

* Backstory: New kind of Hackney night out

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