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Lesson in sensible drinking.

SCOTTISH Licensed Trade Association president and owner of The Courtyard in Edinburgh, Steve Mudie, explains how people are being encouraged to enjoy drink responsibly.

"It's much more acceptable now to say you're going to have a soft drink or a low-alcohol beer than it once was.

"And from the point of view of the licensed trade, it's terrific, as it means people will stay out with their friends or family that much longer. They'll go home feeling great and get up feeling great.

"All it takes is a bit of common sense and people will be very keen to do it all over again.

"At The Courtyard, every table we set has a water glass to make people conscious of the fact that we're as happy with them drinking water as we are with them drinking alcohol.

"We also make sure food is available for as long as possible.

You can come in and have something to eat any time between 11am and 10pm. We also have inexpensive food options so people can have a snack whenever they want it.

"During the World Cup, we also put out free snacks, which is always popular.

"The range of non-alcoholic and low-alcohol drinks now makes up a third of our entire offerings, and a lot of these are of a very high quality.

"The major brewers are producing versions of their drinks with the alcohol removed.

By making them prominently available, the non-drinkers don't have to feel singled out.

"That's why pubs have changed radically. You no longer get raised eyebrows when you ask for a coffee.

"I think soft drinks and low alcohol beers will continue to become more popular. If you cut the alcohol content by half, you have the option of enjoying a little more of it.

"Customers are slowly becoming more knowledgeable about this, and Alcohol Awareness Week will help.

"It's important that people come to realise that it's not healthy to consume large quantities of beer or spirits."

CAPTION(S):

HEALTHY: Low-alcohol
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Oct 9, 2008
Words:335
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