Hacienda art auction for bomb victims raises more than £1,000

In June we auctioned a pair of rare art works depicting the legendary Hacienda nightclub in Manchester. The auction raised £1172.50 for the Manchester bomb victims and the money has already been received by the British Red Cross.

The limited-edition signed artwork had been donated to us a few years ago by Joy Division and New Order legend, and customer of ours, Peter Hook and had been on display in our shop.

The winning bidder was Factory Records fan Tony Dykes of Brighton who used to go to The Hacienda in the early days during the 1980s as a student at Manchester Polytechnic. He’s very kindly sent us a photograph of the art which is now on his walls.

Tony Dykes with the Hacienda Artwork
Tony Dykes with the Hacienda Artwork

Tony, aged 51, gave up alcohol last Autumn and has since become a customer of The Alcohol-Free Shop.

He said: “Like everyone else, I was appalled at the barbaric attack on innocent concert goers in Manchester, and my deepest sympathy goes out to everyone affected. Words really are not adequate. So most importantly, it is great that this money is going to the ‘We love Manchester’ fund.

“I grew very fond of the city and visited the Hacienda on a number of occasions when it was almost empty. My wife also lived in Manchester in the early to mid 1990s and she visited the Hac when it was a much more popular destination. These amazing prints have a personal resonance for us both and will take pride of place in our house above the record deck and amp.”

Art and antique transport specialist at The British Shop, whose experts carry priceless works around the world, donated their services and safely delivered the prints to Tony for free.

Our shop walls are not the same without these beautiful screenprints, but we’re delighted they’ve gone to a good home and raised money for an important cause.

We want to thank everyone who bid on the auction and especially Tony for his winning bid.


Are you feeling any better?

Drink yourself healthy

If you’ve been off the booze during Dry January you’ll have begun to reap the benefits.

Better hydration will be improving your skin, hair and nails. You’ll be sleeping better and you’ve probably shed a few pounds.

Don’t stop now!

It takes about six weeks for your liver to regenerate. Two more weeks and you could be feeling as good as new!

Some people feel so much better, they never look back.

If you do go back to the booze, it’s important to have at least two alcohol-free days a week.

Choose our great wines, beers and cocktails – and live life to the full.

Gluten-free Ambar back soon

The ever-popular 0.0% gluten-free Ambar beer is due in this week.

It sells quickly so we’ve put it on pre-order to give you the chance to be among the first in the queue.

Order now and you’ll have your order shipped as soon as Ambar arrives in our warehouse.


Portuguese beers on route

Your favourite Portuguese beers are due to arrive soon in the UK.

Production issues have resulted in limited availability in recent weeks.

We’ve now put Sagres on pre-order so you can secure your share of this delicious brew before it’s all gone.


Big demand for Weinkoenig

Demand for the delicious Weinkoenig wines has once again outstripped supply.

These wines are now on order and we know the producers will be quick off the mark to replenish our stocks.

We’ve put these best-sellers on pre-order so you can place your order today – so don’t delay!


Thanks for your feedback

Thanks for the fabulous response to our customer survey!
Your feedback is a great help and we’ll be applying some of your ideas and suggestions to improve our service.

A couple of people made comments that required a reply but because it was anonymous we have no way to contact you! If you would like a reply, please do email us at info@alcoholfree.co.uk

Your comments are always welcome and if there’s anything you want to more of, or less of, we’ll do our best to please.


Order online now!

To order online, visit our web site at www.alcoholfree.co.uk – don’t forget, you can choose Free Super Saver Delivery if you spend over £129!

Or visit our Manchester store – open Monday to Friday 8am to 4pm, and Saturday 10am to 4pm.

Reflections on 2016

As I raised a glass of alcohol-free sparkling Pearl Blanc wine last night I reflected on the year that had just ended and thought about the year ahead.

We’ve had all the celebrity deaths and the election of Donald Trump, but Brexit has been the single biggest event affecting The Alcohol-Free Shop.

We don’t know how things will pan out long term, but in the short-term the Pound has slumped against the Euro – dropping from around 1.40 to under 1.20 (and at some points under 1.10).

Nearly all our drinks come from the EU so it makes a big difference to us. Despite increases in costs to us, we’ve held off raising prices – but rises are inevitable.

Despite this, it’s been a great year for us at The Alcohol-Free Shop. We marked our 10th anniversary in 2016 and saw a very healthy growth in sales and customers as we have every year since we started in 2006.

We’ve also been happy to help those less fortunate by donating zero-alcohol drinks to charities and worthy causes including an event to welcome Syrian refugees in December.

We faced a few problems. All couriers are overstretched at Christmas which means more mistakes and more breakages. There was a shortage of haulage vehicles to transport goods from the continent. A combination of higher-than-expected December sales, and external failures beyond our control (one wagon left Germany with someone else’s pallets…), led to stock shortages in the last few weeks.

On the positive side, we’ve seen many improvements and laid the foundation for new developments in 2017.

We launched a new version of our web site. Our site is now easy to use on mobiles and tablets making ordering more convenient for existing and new customers. We’ll continue making improvements in 2017.

Now easy-to-use on mobiles!
Now easy-to-use on mobiles!

Switching to the new site in December is one of the ‘bravest’ decisions we’ve made. But, apart from the odd teething problem which were quickly fixed, it went smoothly, helped our growth this month and made our customers happier.

The website changes are just the start of a much bigger set of improvements to better serve our customers.

We have some very exciting plans that we’ll share with you as soon as we can.

As always, I’d like to thank every single person who has supported us this year. Every time someone places an order we appreciate the trust you show in us.

The demand for zero-alcohol drinks is growing in the UK and we’re proud of the part we’ve played to help this since 2006.

More people are moving in to the market and the choice of who to buy from is growing. Despite that increased competition, we’ve continued to grow and our regular customers – some from our first week in 2006 – come back to us time and time again.

We know from your feedback that this is because you appreciate that we try to go the extra mile for our customers (see what Christine did on Christmas Eve!)

You also know we genuinely care about the people we supply to and the products we sell. We started The Alcohol-Free Shop for good reasons, and it wasn’t to jump on a bandwagon!

I hope 2016 has been a good year for you and yours, and I wish you all the very best for 2017.

See you in the New Year!

Just the ticket – a Christmas journey

We always try to go the extra mile for our customers. This time it was 300. Almost.

In the run-up to Christmas, everyone’s rushing to plan the perfect festive season.

At The Alcohol-Free Shop, we’re part of many of those plans. Our customers look to us to help create great memories and we do our very best to keep our promises.

But sometimes things go wrong. Couriers lose parcels, tasks are overlooked in the whirl of activity, sometimes bottles are broken – and that means sometimes our promises are too.

We rely on producers to make the drinks we sell, transport companies to deliver them to us from around the world, and courier companies to deliver them to you. Even when we do our best, a problem with any part of this chain can cause other problems for us and, more importantly, our customers.

One customer was seriously ill and undergoing chemotherapy. He was looking forward to joining in the fun by raising a glass of alcohol-free wine with his family and making it a Christmas to remember.

He ordered six bottles of wine but we were told by the courier that the goods were damaged in transit and couldn’t be salvaged.

It was too late to get a replacement out to the customer by courier. He simply wasn’t going to get his wine for Christmas Day.

Unless we delivered it ourselves.

Every person who works at The Alcohol-Free Shop puts the customer first and makes an extraordinary effort to get things right.

We understood how much this Christmas meant to him.

Our co-founder, Chris Humphreys, put her own plans on hold to play Santa and save his day. She may not have Santa’s beard, but she showed she certainly has the heart.

She booked train tickets for a nine-hour round trip to hand-deliver the wines on Christmas Eve.

Just the ticket
Just the ticket

She left home before dawn to travel to Manchester to collect the wine at The Alcohol-Free Shop for the onward journey south.

With the tickets, and box of wine, in hand Chris was within 30 minutes of boarding the train for the next leg of the 300-mile journey when the customer reported his wine had arrived. One bottle was broken, but all was not lost.

The day was saved; the train ticket costs and time were not.

But Christine could now go home to spend the day with her family.

And the customer will enjoy his family Christmas as planned – and that’s what matters most to us.

Merry Christmas from everyone at The Alcohol-Free Shop!

New Spanish Sparkling wine

The new Win Sparkling 0.5% wine is the latest addition to the Spanish range of Win wines that’s proving a big hit.

We’ve just has a delivery from the Matarromera winery in Spain so we’re now fully stocked.

The Win tempranillo, Win 12 crianza and white Win verdejo are being snapped up by customers who’ve pre ordered having already tried these great new wine.

We’ve now added the Win sparkling 0.5% ABV that we’re sure you’re going to love.

Order from your mobile

We’re about to launch our mobile-phone version of The Alcohol-Free Shop.

Those of you who want to continue to place your orders on your laptop/ipad or computer will still be able to do so.

The new, customised, no-fuss mobile system will allow you to order your drinks from www.alcoholfree.co.uk more conveniently from your phone while you’re on the move.

The new service will be coming soon.

Cocktails a go-go!

The popular martini-style Palermo Blanco and Palermo Rouge and our creamy Blancart Anis for lovers of Pernot are always in demand during the festive season.

Fresh stock of these three drinks, plus the sweet and sour Venezzio bitters – loved by those who like Campari – are due to arrive from France today and can be pre-ordered to secure your share.

All your best-loved Spanish cocktails arrived yesterday along with the exotic Cloudem party drinks to add glitz to any occasion.

Don’t forget the fantastic Shatler’s ready-to-serve cocktails that include only the finest ingredients to create a flavour sensation worthy of the finest mixologist. Shake the can, pour over crushed ice and serve in seconds!


Offer a warm welcome with Alpine gluwein

Your favourite Carl Jung wines are due back in stock any moment along with a delicious new gluwein.

Carl Jung Mulled Wine is a spiced with cloves and cinnamon and traditionally served warm during the winter months. It’s ideal for guests at outdoor events or as a welcome drink after coming in from the cold.

Last chance to buy EminaZero 0.0% wines

You’ll be delighted to know that the EminaZero 0.0% wines you’ve been waiting for are now back in stock.

We have the luscious EminaZero Pink and the zesty EminaZero Sparkling available along with the EminaZero Verdejo.

But this is your last chance to purchase these wines!

EminaZero 0.0% wines are being discontinued. We know. We’ve told the producers we think they’re making a mistake.

EminaZero wines are the only de-alcoholised wines that we have that are 0.0% ABV and are Halal certified.

When it’s gone, it’s gone.

St Peter’s is going fast!

On Thursday we told you about St. Peter’s Without, a great new British alcohol-free ale brewed in Suffolk.

We’d had it in stock for a couple of weeks without fanfare, and our first batch sold quickly.

We only put it in our newsletter when we got our second ‘larger’ batch…

Boy did we misjudge that! You’ve bought every case already! 

But don’t worry – we’ve placed a new order and it’ll be back in stock any day.