Leader Comment: Scotland was not always so booze soaked

The very idea will be anathema to some people.

Monday, 23rd January 2017, 12:04 pm
Updated Monday, 23rd January 2017, 12:15 pm
Dry bar is serving alcohol-free drinks in Stockbridge

The very idea will be anathema to some people.

An alcohol-free bar seems almost un-Scottish to many modern eyes, especially those who buy in to the notion of us as a hard-drinking of poets and non-comformists. Far too many of us still go misty eyed at the mention of those drink-sodden Celtic heroes from footballer Jim Baxter to fictional detective Inspector Rebus.

The country that introduced whisky to the world will always have a place in its heart for booze, but most of us would be better if we loved it just a little less. We would be healthier, wealthier and probably a little happier in the long-run too.

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Despite the all-pervading modern cliche of the drunken Scot, alcohol has not always had such a central place in our lives. For many years, spirits were kept locked up in the sideboard in most homes, and brought out only at New Year or on very special occasions. Contrast that with today when we are so quick to introduce alcohol at any social occasion from a sporting triumph to a children’s birthday party.

This is no diatribe against the evils of the bottle - but hasn’t the pendulum swung too far?

The Dry bar in Stockbridge is a bold experiment and one whose time might just have come. Heavy drinking is on the decline among Millenials. It is their parents who are now the country’s problem drinkers.

Is there a market for a bar which serves only non-alcoholic drinks? It will be interesting to see. We certainly hope so. Even if the pop-up bar is a short lived venture, it might set other pubs thinking. More of them might introduce ‘mocktails’ and other interesting alternatives for non-drinkers or for those who simply want to miss out on a round of booze with their friends and not miss out on the fun. We’ll raise an (alcohol-free) glass to that.