Vaughan Yates, owner of The Virgin Mary – “a sobar in Dublin” – is looking forward to taking his TVM brand global. The first step is the new franchise which will soon open in Abu Dhabi.
The name “The Virgin Mary” comes from the world’s most famous alcohol-free cocktail of the same name. The franchise will continue with the name TVM.
The first TVM bar is located in Dublin city’s Capel Street. For Yates opening up in Dublin was a benchmark. Ireland has a pervasive alcohol norm existing for a long time. Yates wanted to see if this could be changed by introducing a new option. An alcohol-free bar which is inclusive and serves as a place to socialize and have fun without any of the negative effects of alcohol. And in Dublin it worked.
Compared to Dublin, Ireland the new franchise location caters to a very different customer base. In UAE the majority of the people live alcohol-free. Yates was contacted by his partners for the new bar even before the first one opened. Showing the demand for this new global trend.
Sober bars a growing global trend
As Movendi International previously reported, Sober Bars are a booming business model across the world. These bars already exist in many countries, including in the U.S. and Japan. In the United States, Sans Bar in Austin, Texas, and Listen Bar in NYC, have been paving the way, proving the potential of alcohol-free nightlife spaces. “All bar no booze” is the slogan of the Listen Bar. Sans Bar‘s tagline explains the concept: “Come for the connection and zero-proof cocktails, stay for the community”. Germany joined the trend, too, recently with the first alcohol-free kiosk or “sober Späti”.
The trend towards living alcohol-free is driven by the more health and wellness conscious younger generations Millennials and the Gen Z. Around the world people are increasingly choosing alcohol-free and low-alcohol products. According to IWSR last year, alcohol consumption in ten key markets – including the U.S., Germany, Japan and Brazil – fell 5%. Meanwhile sales of low- and no-alcohol beverages rose 1% in that same time period.
Alcohol-free challenges allow sober curious to try the alcohol-free way of life
Alcohol-free challenges such as Dry January, Dry February, Sober Spring, Dry July and Sober October are increasingly becoming popular. This gives more people the chance to experience first-hand the benefits of the alcohol-free way of life. Dry January has been run in many countries including the United Kingdom (UK), United States (U.S.), France and Switzerland. In countries which conduct Dry January every year more and more people try the alcohol-free month challenge.
Despite the heavy harm that the products and practices of the alcohol industry cause alcohol is normalized in many western cultures with a high number of alcohol-centric social settings. Amidst this pervasive alcohol norm, sober bars provide a creative solution to allow people to experience socializing, having fun, dancing, music and meeting friends without the negative impact of alcohol. When the alcohol is taken out of the picture people realize that the fun is coming from other things not the substance ethanol, which is actually a depressant. The sober bars give people back the power of choice.