Dublin’s pub culture may be world-famous, and a major draw for tourists, but among Irish people alcohol consumption has dropped 23% since 2001.
That’s according to Diageo, who say alcohol-free beer is now the fastest-growing product in the Irish drinks industry
Ireland’s first alcohol-free bar – The Virgin Mary – opened in Dublin in May this year, serving mocktails and non-alcoholic beers, wines and spirits in a setting with all the trappings of a regular pub.
“We’re not saying, you know, don’t drink,” says owner Vaughan Yates. “What we’re saying here is we believe we’re at the forefront of this cultural shift of being mindful about what you consume.”
Oisin Davis is the director of drinks industry consultants Great Irish Beverages, as well as a small investor in The Virgin Mary.
He says that the time is right for an alcohol-free alternative to the traditional Irish pub. “You know it might be nice to socialise, it’s great to see your friends, it’s great to go out on dates and go out to restaurants. But it’s not always great to kind of overindulge perhaps.”