Functional Drinks Club opened in Otley earlier this year serving a wide range of non-alcoholic drinks. The business came about after founder Kevin Gillespie and his partner quit drinking six months ago.
Seeing supermarket aisles with some non-alcoholic alternative led the couple to believe it would be “easy” to quit, but they struggled to find something that suited their taste.
Kevin said: “After exploring quite a few options, we thought, ‘how are we going to stay alcohol free when everything tastes so bad?’"
The couple began exploring further, beyond supermarkets, and found small businesses that specialise in non-alcoholic drinks such as kombucha and craft beer.
Kevin said: “The non-alcoholic world is where all the innovation is at the moment. It's where all the experimentation is. It led us to think that if it’s been this hard for us to discover it, how hard it will be for everyone else."
This gap in the market pushed Kevin to open Functional Drinks Club, which promises quality non-alcoholic beer, lager, IPAs, pale ales and ciders. A wide range of non-alcoholic wines and craft sodas are also available.
The bottle shop also serves kombucha on tap with five different flavours on rotation including original ginger.
It hopes to encourage people to improve their relationship with alcohol and Functional Drinks Club hosts many tasting events to ease people into the drinks they have on offer. It recently paired with Jewel of India, in Otley, for a beer and curry night.
Kevin strongly believes in the idea of “conscious living” and wishes to push that through the brand too, offering drinks with great health benefits.
He had spent two decades successfully working his way up to a chief officer role at a marketing firm but said he found himself “desperately unhappy”.
Kevin added: “It was just the stress and the burnout. Marketing in today’s world is one of the most stressful jobs out there now.”
It was seeing the impact the job had on his relationship with his young daughter that pushed Kevin to want to live more “consciously”.
He said: “I may have been there but I wasn't present mentally. How many years do you get with children? How many summers do we get before they don't want to go on some holiday with daddy? It's that simple, isn't it? It just completely redesigned my life.”
Still in marketing, Kevin now works for a building society which has an emphasis on tackling climate change. He also spends a lot of time with community organisations and small business while running Functional Drinks Club.
And Kevin said that the work he does now gives him a real purpose.
He aspires to expand his shop into chains across the country but Functional Drinks Club aims to be more than just a beverage shop; he will be launching his own podcast Sober Bandits in the coming weeks.
He said: “It's quite interesting what you find out about the people who live in Otley, you'd never think these people live here. We're living in a traditional market town. There's so many amazing people.”
Find out more about Functional Drinks Club via the website.