Updated: Nov 26, 2020
Whilst many of us enjoy alcohol responsibly, some people cannot and in some circumstances, they can have a bad relationship with alcohol without being considered to be an 'alcoholic', so we wanted to raise some general awareness, highlight some key support available and offer a personal opinion on 'low-alcohol' alternatives,.
If interested, further information is available via the following links:
‘Booze & Rugby’ ‘Booze’ has a large influence on rugby culture, especially during post-match socialising, ‘boat races’ and rugby tours, which sometimes creates a little peer pressure and might make it difficult not to drink. In fact, some argue that not drinking alcohol is almost stigmatised within a rugby culture, so perhaps we need to move away from peer pressure or feel uncomfortable of choosing not to drink ? If you want to find out more, here’s a couple of articles around the effect of alcohol in rugby:
On a positive note, restraining or cutting back could dramatically improve your performance on the rugby pitch, which is indirectly supported by a study describing the impact of ‘heavy episodic alcohol’ use causing reduced sleep, reduced lower body power output and prolonged recovery (e.g. takes on average 2 days to recover from a ‘heavy’ session), so it may be beneficial to your cognitive and physical ability not to get ‘smashed’ on a Friday night before a game or drink to excess after one.
The good news is that that our clubhouse stocks a non-alcoholic lager; pretty good if you like French style beers and we will continue to explore other options (e.g. Guinness Zero).
Mat Mason-Hames, Mindset's creator shares his story, relationship with booze and recommends some ‘non-alcoholic’ alternative drinks Earlier this year I made the difficult decision to cut out the booze, there were a number of reasons, health, calories etc, but mainly my mental health. I had started to suffer from beer fear the following morning even after just a few, the worry that I had said or done something under the influence. Whilst not drinking throughout the week, I would crack open a can as soon as possible on a Friday night and that would be the story of the weekend. Alcohol had started to be a tool to get by rather than an instrument of fun.
So, I went the ‘low and no’ route, because I like the taste of a nice beer. It was odd at first, trying to find what I liked and, in most cases, didn’t like, some of the stuff is just appalling and the mouthfeel of no and low can take a while to get used to. However, there are so many options out there now; the market grew 39% last year (currently 2% of the total UK beer market and it is forecast that it will grow by 6% per annum), so there is bound to be something that is readily available in the supermarkets, albeit some beers can be a bit more expensive compared to cases of low end lagers.
As I’ve said I am a mainly beer man, I like an ale or an IPA and that seems to be where a lot of these are aimed. Brewdog Punk AF and Dead Pony are great. Infinite Sessions are most definitely at the top of my list and if you like a citrus ale the Ghost Ship version is almost as good as the real thing; even better if you don’t want a hangover. Another of my favorite's is the Big Drop brewery.
Lager’s ? I’ve heard good things about Lucky Saint; it wasn’t to my taste, but most of the mainstream brands do a good version of theirs now (we can now forget ‘old skool’ Kaliber). The best thing though is the reduction in calories. Punk AF has 50 calories in a bottle versus the 5.6% version of Punk IPA, which has 150 calories in a 330ml bottle. And what about stout ? Really looking forward to trying the Guinness zero as soon as they sort out the issues with the stock.
If you like a bottle of Fizz to celebrate then there is Nonsecco ( bit too sweet for my taste), Fizzero from M&S ( nice dry finish) or my favourite, Rawsons Retreat which just tastes like the real thing and there are a multitude of gin replicas from completely non-alcoholic to very low (e.g. Lyres range is AF, Clean Gin is 1.2% and Portobello Road do a 5% gin so when mixed it reduces the alcohol right down). However, it is difficult to beat the Tesco own premixed AF gin and tonics. They are spot on!
There are even rums, whisky’s and aperitifs out there now and I believe you would need to drink 47 double ‘clean gin’ and tonics to get the same amount of alcohol in a standard pint of beer.
One thing is that I can't find is a decent alternative to red wine that doesn’t just taste like undiluted squash, so recommendations welcome.
Obviously, ‘low’ and ‘no’ is not the way to go for everyone as it might not be to your taste, but if you want an alternative, low calorie, low alcohol, no hangover option to enjoy and still be able to drive home, it is well worth exploring, as the market has come on ‘leaps’ and ‘bounds’ since you probably last tried a sip.