The Soberistas Choice Campaign

I think you all know that I used to drink like a fish. I take full personal responsibility for this, as I also took responsibility for my choice to stop boozing and sort myself out!

However, I have become acutely aware since becoming a non-drinker just how much of an alcohol-obsessed society we all live in, and in particular how the supermarkets use persuasive marketing techniques coupled with heavy discounts in order to make it so very tempting for their customers to pop another bottle into their trollies.

In the run up to Christmas I expect this blatant promotion of booze to intensify (as is the case every year) and along with the increase in alcohol consumption during the festive period, we can also expect to see a rise in drink-driving incidents, domestic violence (approximately 50% of reported domestic violence cases are linked to alcohol) and hospital admissions for a plethora of booze-related illnesses and accidents.

I believe that supermarkets have a responsibility to create a store environment that encourages and promotes healthier choices, not just with regards to the food they sell but also when it comes to alcohol. Between 1992 and 2011 there was a 38% increase in the amount of alcohol drunk at home, and most people buy their booze along with their weekly grocery shopping.

Soberistas would like to see all the major supermarkets routinely display a prominent selection of attractively-packaged, sophisticated and grown-up alcohol-free beverages, in an effort to help us all make healthier choices. The power of marketing is huge, and, just has been the case with alcoholic drinks being sold in a way which makes them appear exciting and attractive (with none of the health concerns especially highlighted), if AF drinks were marketed in a more appealing manner perhaps a few more customers may choose them over the boozy option, at least some of the time.

Rather than shunting the AF selection alongside the kids’ cola and lemonade, the Soberistas Choice Campaign will require (from those shops who sign up) supermarkets to counterbalance their alcohol displays with at least one attractive and easy-to-see display of non-alcoholic drinks, specifically featuring the types of beverages that appeal to AF adults (and not their children). We aren’t talking fizzy pop and orange squash, but beautifully-bottled and tasty treats like Ginger and Lemongrass Cordial and Elderflower Presse.

Soberistas will begin its campaign soon and as a starting point, we would love to present our argument to the supermarkets together with a collection of supporting statements – from you! So if you agree with what we are trying to achieve and would like to help us reach our goal of all the major UK supermarkets signing up, please leave a comment below stating why you love the idea of the Soberistas Choice Campaign.

Thank you (we would also be very grateful if you would consider sharing this blog post through Facebook and Twitter in order to build momentum for our campaign).

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14 thoughts on “The Soberistas Choice Campaign

  1. Annie says:

    YES YES YES
    I love M&S Sparling Juice range. £2.49 and usually 3 for 2. I always have some in. They have ‘champagne’ corks. My grandsons are very enthusiastic and pleased to be able to say they can manage the party tops.
    The mocktails are good too but hard to find and some branches don’t seem to stock them.
    Found one in Morrisons too.
    Bottle green ginger and lemongrass is lovely with lots of foods and I drink it hot with dark chocolate instead of peppermint tea( which I drink instead of coffee) which does not complement the choc I sometimes crave.

    And while we are at it please can people serve alcohol free in nice glasses. Sick of elderflower in tumblers at weddings. I can manage a delicate flute especially AF!

    • Lucie Ogilvie says:

      AMEN! For the record, there is no such thing as non-alcoholic beer. Always read the label. Been saying it for 30 sober years. Also, always in restaurants ASK if there’s any alcohol in whatever you order, particularly desserts. Others debate me about the alcohol being cooked out of dishes… my rule of thumb has always been that I didn’t see them cook it, so no ordering wine sauced etc. anything.

  2. Having been horrified today at seeing four cans of Sainsbury’s own lager for £1 – which makes one large can of lager cheaper than a ‘normal’ can of e.g. Coca Cola (how can our government continue to ignore this?) – and the booze aisles taking up more and more space in supermarkets, I think your idea is an excellent one. I’ve signed up for the ‘Sober for October’ campaign as well, and thought of you when I did it.

  3. Sarah Richards says:

    I think this is a fantastic idea. My local Sainsburys has 2 aisles dedicated to alcohol but only half a shelf at the end of the bottled water section for ‘grown up’ AF drinks – and there is very little choice. As someone commented earlier I would also love to se this extended to bars/restaurants/pubs as when we eat out and ask if they have any AF drinks I only ever seem to get diet coke, lime and soda or J20 – the whole industry needs revolutionising – proud to be part of this !!

  4. Kim says:

    This is long overdue. It is often difficult to find any nice AF drinks and I have noticed that the AF wines and beers are in the alcohol section. More choice would be greatly appreciated as sweet, sickly fizzy drinks are very unappealing to the adult palate. Morrisons are my favourite – they do some lovely sparkling spring waters that come in glass bottles and are not too sweet. Incidently there was a feature on the radio today about the increase in the incidence of under 18s drinking alcohol in Scotland. For the first time the girls have overtaken the boys. It is not just us that need to think about our drinking choices but what are the next generation picking up from a society that glamourises alcohol to the extent ours does?

  5. Hel says:

    How about all the delicious smoothie drinks the supermarkets already sell but mixed with sparkling water. Healthy and delicious and adult!

  6. Barbara Rose says:

    I was thinking the same myself as I wandered around Morrisons on Saturday. I did find a lovely grape and elderflower mix with sparkling water in a wine type bottle. It is delicious but took me ages to find and was hidden away at the bottom of an aisle and there were only two bottles there, so I bought them! Would be great if your campaign works, Lucy. Thank you.

  7. This is a great idea and definitely needed. I am Australian and although we can’t buy alcohol from supermarkets here (you must go to an actual liquor store which are separated from supermarkets), there really are not many alternative drinks for adults who do not want to drink alcohol. I don’t know if you have “Bickford’s” cordial over there, but I find that the diet lime one with soda water is great, virtually calorie-free and looks like a vodka, lime and soda water – so may be considered sophisticated for adults to drink! Good luck with your campaign, and if you have time check out ours – we are students trying to promote healthy lifestyle and curb binge drinking cultures amongst youth. We’d love to hear your feedback.

  8. Mary says:

    I used to make excuses to go to the supermarket for food, essentials – anything the family absolutely had to get but it was really to slip a bottle of wine into the basket, I can honestly own up to this now and fully support any campaign to sell alcohol in off licences only – if you’re going to shop there you can’t pretend it’s for milk and you happened to spot a bargain for wine too good to pass up. On-line grocery shopping was another ploy of mine, the ‘monthly’ shop with 3 for £12 bottles which lasted a couple of days, or the marsala wine/sherry for cooking which didn’t last the week. I hated the fact that my alcoholism made me sneaky, secretive and deceitful – having to enter specialised alcohol stores might have helped me face up to my condition earlier.

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