We went to the Clean Vic, Sainsbury’s 100% low & no alcohol pub, here’s what we thought…

A great way to spend an hour, but what does the Clean Vic do for Sainsbury’s?

In the era of the M&S Love Sausage, perhaps we’re getting used to the idea of our favourite supermarkets doing something a little bit more noisy to make a splash. Still, when we heard that Sainsbury’s were planning to bring us the UK’s first no and low alcohol pub it felt like something a little different…so we went along to check it out.

What struck us most was the atmosphere, just like a real pub it was buzzy, and just the right amount of dingy, with row upon row of “spirits” and plenty of beers on tap. Put the same drinks into a clinical or “wellness”-led environment and I don’t think we’d have enjoyed ourselves so much. The drinks themselves blended in well, I went for a Sainsbury’s own low alcohol sparkling wine, whilst Tom sampled a Seedlip based cocktail, both of which we agreed were perfectly passable, especially given the vibe. We really did feel like we were “down the pub”.

With the headlines full of stories of millennials turning their backs on “boozy Britain”, and Sainsbury’s witnessing a 31% increase in sales of low & no alcohol, The Clean Vic feels like a great way of showcasing the growing number of brands springing up in the space, both from major alcohol players looking to tap the trend and new brands filling the unmet need. Equally it’s a good way of breaking down some barriers to trying low & no (if you happen to be in London yesterday or today)…and I for one didn’t realise Sainsbury’s made so much low alcohol wine… but beyond a bit of a publicity stunt we’re not so clear on what’s in it for Sainsbury’s. Come Friday, my best option for getting an alcohol-free beer will be back on the supermarket shelves, and will I enjoy it so much without the very particular atmosphere of a London pub?…not sure!

By: Susannah Cohen

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