07939 544413 stuart@limeslade.com

In case you’re wondering, that’s a Bill Bailey line, but if you’re organising events, it’s really crucial.

Working in business development and marketing can be great fun. It can also be quite challenging, not least of all demonstrating value (a post for another day), but also the fact that it involves a lot of socialising. Our days often start early with breakfast meetings, carry on with daytime meetings and finish with evening parties and events. It’s not uncommon for us to start with a 7am breakfast and finish the day with an event that goes through to 11pm or so.

I’m not complaining of course, but it can take its toll. I’m sure I’m not the first and won’t be the last to occasionally find that one of the biggest challenges of the job is keeping the alcohol intake under control. In June, I had what we’ll call, ‘an incident’ that made me take stock.

Cutting Out the Booze

I decided to cut out the alcohol for a while, and see how it went. So I’ve now been sober for a month.

Not only have I been sober for a month, I’ve been sober for what is usually one of the two most alcohol fuelled months of the year. Annie and I had to split ourselves across five social events one night in July! Needless to say we didn’t make it to all of them.

But why are you telling us this? I hear you ask.

Well, if you’re an event organiser, or your firm organises events, this is to bring to your attention the challenges faced by the minority of us who don’t drink. Or indeed, other minorities.

A long time ago, I organised an event which had terrible accessibility issues. I was mortified when one of the attendees pointed out that they couldn’t easily get to the toilet or indeed the meeting room. We did our best to make up for it, and apologise, but it was something we could have easily avoided.  It’s really important to try to put yourselves in others shoes.

A few points from my recent experience:


I’ve a friend who’s a vegetarian. She used to get very vexed by the lack of ‘options’ when a vegetarian. To give one option is not really an option! More a fait accompli. And nobody wants to spend an entire night drinking water or Pepsi. Here’s a little run down of some of the low or no alcohol ‘options’ I’ve tried:

  • Non-alcoholic wine. It’s been a while since I tried this, but it used to taste awful. Annie assures me little has changed.
  • Non-alcholic prosecco.
  • Non-alcoholic gin – this is generally quite good, a bit more bland than the real thing, but the flavoured versions such as the Whitley Neill Rhubarb and Ginger, is actually pretty drinkable.
  • Non-alcoholic cocktails – these are pretty decent, but your dentist will be either delighted or disappointed, depending on how much they like replacing teeth.
  • Beer – as a regular beer drinker, this is where I spent most of my efforts! Here’s a sub-list:
    • Bud Zero – should really be kept for toilets or other areas that need strong cleaning products.
    • Peroni – marginally better than the bud.
    • Corona – this isn’t so bad, but a little sweet.
    • Heineken – starting to taste a little more like beer, I can tolerate this. It’s a regular of fellow cyclist and non-drinker, Owen Lawrence.
    • Brew Dog – Nanny state or Punk IPA – not bad, but it’s Brew Dog. So we usually keep away from that type of thing.
    • Lucky Saint – much better, tastes and looks like actual beer, and you can put it in a pint glass.
    • Beavertown Lazer Crush – much like the lucky saint, a great beer-tasting beer!

How things went…

Of the 15 or so parties and events I attended this month, only two had what I would call a ‘drinkable’ non-alcoholic beer. One of those was an event we organised (full marks us!) and the other was the Place Summer Social organised by Place North West (full marks Annaliese and team!).

One event organised by a well-known society for the legal and construction world had just water or Coca-Cola. After a few glasses of fizzy pop I was fit to explode.

One of the bigger parties had nothing other than the zero peroni (yuck) or a really nasty tasting fruit juice. There wasn’t even diet coke or normal juice. I did find some non-alcoholic cocktails though, so that was a relief!

So What’s the Outcome?

Generally, most people don’t think about those of us trying to avoid the demon drink. And with warnings such as this from our friends at Greenwoods solicitors, it’s perhaps something you should consider if organising an event. We’ll certainly be a lot more mindful of it in future.

And when you are organising event, try to consider all things – have you thought about wheelchair access? What would happen if the Australian women’s wheelchair basketball team turned up to your event? What are the facilities like for those who aren’t like you?

Finally, if you or your organisation are having a party or corporate event, have you considered those of us who are off the booze? If not, why not add it to the checklist?! And as always, if you need help, get in touch with one of us today.