A former Laithwaites and Majestic retailer has announced plans to roll out a pop-up alcohol-free bottle shop and bar at several events this Autumn.

Stuart Boorman, who set up Sober Cellar to review non-alcoholic drinks online, plans to evolve the concept to create a retail operation at several festivals, from November. The move follows a stint as deputy manager at Club Soda’s alcohol-free off-licence in London last Winter.

Speaking about his experience at the alcohol-free off-licence, he said he “saw how important tasting the drinks was to customers in making purchasing decisions to buy these products. Many customers are hesitant to spend £20+ on a non-alcoholic spirit without tasting it”.

The Sober Cellar pop-ups will feature three brands per quarterly block of events.

“Brands want to expose more customers to their products and to get more ‘liquid to lips’. However, often they are unable to do this due to budget, lack of staff or their geographical location,” Boorman added.

So far, Boorman has lined up pop-ups at Windsor Christmas Fair, Windsor Vegan Fiesta and Hertfordshire Christmas Fair in Redbourn. The first Sober Cellar pop-ups will feature Smashed Drinks and Myth Drinks.

Boorman said he made the move to cut out alcohol a few weeks after finishing his WSET diploma.

“I passed my diploma in February 2021 and planned to open a wine school,” he explained. I took five weeks off from drinking alcohol in March/April 2021 as an experiment and found that I had more energy and no hangovers. I used to have 48 days a year wasted to hangovers, as I unfortunately grew more intolerant to alcohol as I got older.”

Boorman said that after seeing the benefits of his five weeks of abstinence, he decided to go teetotal.

“I have not drunk alcohol since then, though I still have huge respect for alcoholic drinks and I am not anti-alcohol in any way,” he added.