This may well be the least popular blog I have written but judging by the number of times I came across the same issue, I thought it was finally time to address it; why is the choice of soft drinks so poor at large industry events?
Now I can hear many of you sniggering and telling me to “get a life” but actually it is an issue, and will become more of one in the years ahead.
As a nondrinker, I am very often left with no alternative to alcohol when arriving at an industry event, and when I am, the choice is generally very poor. For the drinkers there is usually Champagne or Prosecco, but for non-drinkers, the choice is generally either the cheapest, sweetest orange juice money can buy or water!
I attended two large industry dinners last year where there was no soft drink option offered at the door. On both occasions the bar was much further into the room and very difficult to get to. As happens on these occasions progress across the room towards the bar was very slow, as you end up becoming involved in numerous conversations en-route, so as a consequence I didn’t manage to get a drink at either reception.
At one of the dinners I declined the wine and asked for sparkling water only to be told there was none, only still. I paid the same for my ticket as everyone else so surely I should be offered a better alternative to the half bottle of wine that was included, than tap water? If I had a dietary requirement, that would have been catered for. So why can’t those who are not drinking alcohol be offered an alternative in the same way?
For many years I use to put no alcohol as a dietary requirement, but all it meant was that I got dry food with no sauce - I have never been offered an alternative soft drink with my meal.
The flip side is that I have attended events where the caterer will take great pride in producing creative and interesting soft drinks, and you know what, you would be amazed at the number of people who will drink them. Maybe not all night, but people do drink soft drinks by choice, if given the option.
In Britain today the majority of people do drink, I fully acknowledge that, and for many years I joined everybody in enjoying a drink at events like those I have mentioned. However whether it’s for religious or health reasons, or because they are being sponsored for charity or driving, more and more people either can’t, or choose not to drink alcohol. There should be no reason why the hospitality industry, of all industries, should not be able to cater for these requirements at their flagship events.
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