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A Visit To London's First Alcohol-Free Off-Licence

I braved the journey into central London yesterday to meet Laura Willoughby MBE at the new Club Soda alcohol-free off-licence in Great Portland Street (near Oxford Circus tube). It's the first of it's kind in London so I was excited to visit!

Great to see so many no-low brands, well merchandised and available in one place. It was so busy I had step outside at times to let Laura and the team get on with serving customers.

A few positive aspects really stood out to me about how this pop-up retail experience is being run. Thought I'd share....

1. TASTE: When customers come into the store, they're quickly asked 'what would you like to try?'....(versus 'can I help you'). Getting liquid into peoples hands / mouths is really important to open the conversation on taste, making them feel at home and encourage them to browse (average time in store 22 mins!)

2. INFORMATION: The store is simply laid out so it's easy to navigate. The Club Soda team have created mini-brand booklets which are attached next to the shelf displays. So even if you're not being served there is plenty of information at hand. Information & conversation is so important for a new segment and for people new to no-low with so many questions.

3. IMMERSION: There is center island stand where customer can try any of the packaged products, chilled and ready to mix or pour. You can also pour your own draught beer from one of four tap stations linked to 30L kegs. Taste is a key barrier to no-low purchase so immersing people in easy to try, great tastes is a brilliant approach.

Congratulations to everyone involved in creating the AF off-licence. Lots of great things for retailers and brands to execute elsewhere to drive trial & growth. What a great milestone for the no & low alcohol drinks segment in London and the UK



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