Since first being inspired by the OYNB podcasts, our Founder Johnny has just become the latest guest on the podcast series!
In their own words… One Year No Beer (OYNB) is the leading habit changing programme with a 95% success rate. They challenge their members to become the most productive, present and healthiest version of themselves by just making one change (cutting out the booze). They take a more positive approach to ‘giving up’ drink – so rather than just deleting alcohol from your life, they help you break down and rebuild new habits and create a new mindset that give you complete control, that will last far beyond the end of the no alcohol challenge.
OYNB will offer you a support programme for giving up drinking for 28, 90 or 365 days. This will include:
UNLTD. Founder Johnny’s alcohol-free journey started back in 2019. After deciding to ditch the booze, he met up with a fellow Alcohol free (AF) friend in London who recommended the One Year No Beer challenge. Johnny’s experience was great, the online community support and testimonials from other members really helped keep him on track. Of all the offerings OYNB have, one stands out for him as the biggest driver of giving up alcohol, the podcasts - where Andy and Ruari interview someone that had changed their lives by going alcohol-free. Fast forward 12 months and Johnny’s life has changed completely. UNLTD. has become a selected brand for OYNB, have partnered up on some very exclusive giveaways and have just recorded their first podcast together!
Click the link below and tune in to hear Johnny’s own story and just how much you can achieve by taking a break from alcohol.
One Year No Beer is about something much bigger than changing an individual’s relationship with alcohol. It’s about changing society’s relationship with alcohol. And often, when one person makes a significant change, they find a way to share that change with a broader group of people. That’s what today’s guest did.
In today’s episode, Johnny Johnson discusses the drinking culture that he was a part of. He didn’t consider himself an alcoholic or think of his drinking as anything over the top – it was just normal. It was normal to go out for drinks on weeknights with colleagues and go out on the weekends with old school friends. It was normal to work through hangovers. It was normal to spend Sundays recovering so that the cycle could start over again with the next work week.
“I looked back at my life and I started thinking, I'm just on this hamster wheel and I'm not enjoying life.”
Johnny decided after his wedding that he was tired of this version of normal – tired of having hangovers, tired of worrying about what he might have done and forgotten about while he was drinking. So, he decided to give up alcohol for a while, then decided to join One Year No Beer so that he could experience the support of a community during his journey.
But that’s not where Johnny’s story stops. He found himself telling friends and family about going alcohol-free because he was excited about it. And because he still wanted to go out and join in social activities, he also started exploring alcohol-free drinks. Johnny did find some nonalcoholic beers that he liked, but most venues carried big brands that he didn’t care for as much.
Rather than giving up, Johnny was inspired by the situation. He decided to create his own alcohol-free beer. His goal was to get it into pubs and restaurants so that when he and other people like him went out, they could order an alcohol-free beer that they liked and were proud to be seen drinking.
In today’s episode, Johnny discusses his journey with alcohol, his foray into nonalcoholic brewing, and his experiences with the One Year No Beer community. Listen in to learn how Johnny managed to create a healthy nonalcoholic beer and to pick up a promo code that will give OYNB members a discount on Johnny’s alcohol-free beer.
Ruari: Welcome to another episode of the One Year No Beer podcast. Today, I am only half of your host because today I am joined by the wonderful, amazing, super fantastic lord of everything—lordess.
Jennifer: Better half.
Ruari: Better, prettier, more intelligent wife Jennifer Fairbairns.
Jennifer: I'm thrilled to be here. We’re ready to kick it up a notch here at the One Year No Beer podcast. We thought we’d give it a try as a duo. I'm very excited. We're very excited about today, aren’t we Ru? Because something we really love is to see all the success stories that come out of people who find OYNB, transform their life completely, and come up and start their own exciting business ventures. It's a trend.
Ruari: Especially a business helping people to change their relationship with alcohol. That is the perfect thing because they've had this realisation and they're like, yes. You are fully assimilated when that happens.
Jennifer: Exactly. Our purpose at OYNB is not just transforming one person's life. It’s transforming other people's lives and helping other people transform other people's lives. Having that snowball effect. Today's guest, this is a lad’s lad who’s always late at the parties, having fun. Then when he changed his relationship with alcohol, he loved the way he was feeling, but he still missed that beer. That thing that he grew up with, the taste of it, and the idea of being able to be out with friends and celebrating without necessarily drinking.
What did he do? He only went and started this amazing non-alcoholic beer company, which is not only apparently very tasty, but it really looks cool.
Ruari: Very cool.
Jennifer: I am excited to get my hand on one of these, hint hint. Without further ado, everyone, please welcome Johnny.
Johnny: Hello, everybody.
Ruari: Johnny, how are you?
Johnny: I'm great. Thank you. Thanks for having me on the podcast.
Ruari: It’s absolutely great to have you on the podcast. Jen has given us a little bit of a whistle-stop tour, but why don't you in your own words tell us a bit about your journey so far?
Johnny: I'm 32 years old now. I grew up in north London. I've worked in the city for the last seven years in a quite high-pressure style of environment. I’ve always been a pretty big boozer since the age I could legally go to pubs and even probably before then in the park with friends. I grew up in this booze rich culture, and drinking was just a part of life. It’s something that I used to do every weekend with your friends. I go out to party and get drunk.
Every weekend, it was sort of the same routine. Working in the city as well, it was quite a social environment where we’d go out with colleagues on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday night after work, working through the hangovers. On Saturday, it’s going out and meeting old school friends. Sunday, it always completely lights off on the sofa, feeling a bit crap, and then back to work on Monday. That was my relationship with alcohol probably for about 10 years.
Ruari: Pretty normal.
Johnny: Exactly. It all came to a head last year after I got married. I was just fed up with constantly feeling hungover. I remember listening to your and Andy’s podcast that was about the moderate drinker and always having alcohol in your system because there probably wasn’t a period for longer than seven days where I wouldn’t have a beer or a glass of wine. I wouldn’t class myself as an alcoholic. I was just what I would class as normal. I gave up the booze for a period with the help of One Year No Beer and the podcast, and it completely changed everything.
Ruari: That’s awesome. What was the moment that you decided to give it a shot, and what was the reaction of the people around you?
Johnny: It was after my wedding with my wife […]. We had a wedding party in July last year. We got married initially in June but then had a UK party with all of our friends that didn’t make it. I had a hangover that probably lasted for about five days. There's no graduation. I felt crap for days. It was after that point. My friends told me after that I did a few stupid things, nothing outrageous but just having that beer fear knowing that I’d probably did […] on the night.
I just looked back at my life and I started thinking, I'm just on this hands to the wheel and I'm not enjoying life. I'm working, going out, then I'm hungover, and then I'm working again. The weekends that I would have to do what I wanted to do, it was often spent feeling sorry for myself on the sofa. In 2015, my dad passed away sadly in an accident.
Ruari: I’m sorry.
Johnny: No, that’s all right. The effect from that I think made it get worse and worse. It's very stressful and drinking a lot more. After my wedding party, that’s when I decided to call it quits.
Jennifer: That’s awesome. Going through something that traumatic in life, this is what we've done. This is how we have dealt with it throughout the years. We just numb ourselves, and then we get alcohol. At that point, it's a helpful tool, but it doesn't stop. You're saying, you woke up and you had a 5-day hangover. Consequently, you’d poison your body to a point of your body not functioning for five days. At some point you kind of say, I think that's enough. Do I want to feel like this? It’s like one week you’re on hog week, same stuff—up, repeat again, do that thing again. Your body just said stop, right? That's it.
Johnny: Exactly. It was just a realisation that I'm 32, I've had a lot of fun since I was 18 […] of an adult, if you like. The more important things start to come through. I just got married, we just bought a house. There were lots to do in the house. I have a lot more responsibilities because of the mortgage and stuff. Because I was in a high-pressure sales environment, I have to be on it all the time.
It was funny listening to Ruari and Andy at the very start and saying about—I would go out on the weekend. I would probably recover properly on a Thursday. I feel like top form on Thursday and I have gotten the best at work. Then I go out and get beers Thursday night. It’s actually one day of the week, I was probably on top form. I looked at that and I was like, that’s no way to be living.
Ruari: It’s funny because when you're in it, that’s all the fun, it is what everyone else is doing, it’s perfectly normal, and then there's this little scratching at the back of the brain. When the scratching of the brain comes forward, which is not right, I think I’ll have to be better, and I'm not sure. Then you start to approach a thing of, I think I'm going to try not drinking for a bit.
Then you get all of the doubt, but not just that, the reactions from people like, why would you want to do that? I didn't realise you have a problem. Are you sure? What are you talking about, you're giving up drinking? You’re going to be boring. Am I going to be boring? What’s going to happen to me?
All of this stuff appears. This is the tip of the hat to everyone. You who has come through that high pressured city, I know hands up you’ve been told, I was committing commercial suicide if I stop drinking. My whole life, my whole career I was like, I'm going to be a number one top broker. Here I was, having to make a decision, which was going to say, I was committing commercial suicide, and yet I still made that decision.
I went into the unknown. You have to go into the unknown. So many people have to take this step into the unknown of where all the signs are saying, don't go back and everything else, and yet when you get to the other side you're like, I just can't believe I didn't do that earlier. I wish I'd done that sooner. What I thought was fun isn't really fun. That's really key. Everything I thought about drinking was so much fun and so much gig. Actually, now that I'm on the other side I realised it wasn't that much fun, the opposite.
Johnny: Exactly. Going back to what you said about when I first gave up, I met up with Andy Liddle who you probably know.
Ruari: Yes, what a legend. He’s an absolute legend.
Johnny: He’s a friend of a friend. I went out with him on a couple of nights out a few years ago. He was a bit of a boozer. He is a fun, fun guy. I heard that he has quit the booze from this friend of ours. I gave him a call and I said, let’s meet up and tell me about this alcohol-free business that you're doing. I was just amazed by how much weight he has lost. He was quite a big guy.
Ruari: I know. He’s at three […] or something like that.
Johnny: Yeah. When I saw him, he had lost 3/4 […] I think at that time. Just talking to him, he lays a focus and he’s sort of ignited. It reminded me of the Limitless film, one of my favourite movies. He completely sold me on going alcohol-free. He said listen to this podcast. The first three weeks of getting off the booze, it was quite hard because I'm still in that environment of going out with work colleagues. The first night I actually went out and then I was going to a bar in the city. Like all newcomers to the alcohol-free movement, I bought a cranberry juice—a bright red drink in a tumbler.
Ruari: With the flower and some frilly stuff.
Jennifer: It was like for pregnant ladies.
Johnny: But it was like a beacon of light shining on me. Everyone was saying, what are you doing? Why are you not drinking? I think it’s changed a lot now, the perception of people that don’t drink. This was only last year, but the amount of […] on. People were pressuring me to go just have a beer, have a shot. I used to be one that always gets the shots in. It was a big shock to everyone.
The first three weeks were pretty hard. I tried to avoid social situations. I distinctly remember, it was the three-week mark that I woke up and I just felt incredible. Obviously, all the booze was completely out of my system. The thing that everyone said in this podcast. I'm sleeping better. I was getting up early on the weekend. I was going out and exercising. From exercising, you’ve got all the endorphins, you feel brilliant, and then I'm doing so much stuff around the house. My wife was actually getting quite frustrated with me because I was just doing so much. I'm tidying up all the time.
Jennifer: You tidied up. Hold on right there, you tidied up?
Ruari: Stop throwing me under the bus.
Jennifer: It’s not something that happened over here. We must have missed a mark here. Can we just talk more about that after this podcast?
Ruari: I do it, but I just source it.
Jennifer: Just kidding, Johnny, please continue.
Johnny: I had this weird sort of OCD obsession about tidiness. I was constantly cleaning up. I soon realised how messy my wife was, but we’ll leave that because […] got me. I didn’t sign up for the One Year No Beer Program initially. I just listened to the podcast. I just took advantage of the free stuff. I listen to it every day on the way to work and on the way home just to sort of keep me motivated. Really inspiring story about people giving up what they’ve done just kept on motivating me to keep going.
I set myself a target of 90 days. I actually did 112 days, but at that point, the peer pressure got too much and I went out with one of my oldest mates. We went out, had five beers, and the next day I instantly regretted it. Shortly after that, I spoke to Andy Liddle. He said, “Mate, just sign up to One Year No Beer because you get access to the Facebook group. There's a massive community of support,” and so I did.
On my first week of going alcohol-free, I felt alone. It was probably the best way to describe it because the majority of people drink. Going alcohol-free was not joining your group. I did feel alone, but when I signed up for the group and read people’s messages every day. Everyone’s supporting everyone. Then I do the number about 95 days I think. I still drink on a very rare occasion. I completely changed my relationships with alcohol.
Ruari: That is the perfect story for me. The reason why that is the perfect story is to be congruent to our mission. My personal mission and our mission is to have a massive impact on the world. You can't do that by charging for everything. What we have to do is be able to help a huge number of people who are not going to sign up. They won't sign up and if we can do that to a podcast like this, if we can inspire people to change their relationship with alcohol, if we can give them some of the tools to go forth in their world and change their relationship with alcohol just by using the free stuff, then that is amazing. That’s exactly the mission that we are on.
I think that you've hit the nail on the head. It can feel lonely. If you aren't able to get around people who are alcohol-free if you feel like in any way you're struggling, hang-on a minute, I'm not quite getting this, or I'm getting to 28 days and slipping—that's why we created a program.
We created a program to really help you think about alcohol differently, to change the way you react to alcohol, to disassociate it from all the things we have like alcohol equals fun, alcohol equals success. That’s the process we take people through. That is the challenge.
For many people the challenge is that's great, I'm on the challenge. It’s a self-help program. I need to have all that self-discipline. I've got help with the community, but I need a little bit more accountability. I need more support. I've tried to challenge myself a couple of times. That’s why we created Alcohol-Free Me.
We created it so that you can get on to Zoom calls, you could speak to a coach, you could get someone to one time with them, and all of that stuff. Again, making sure that in our pricing, everything was less than what people are spending on alcohol. What was congruent or really important for us is that nobody could look me in the eyes and say, I can't afford your program. Because the reality is unless you're home brewing or stealing, you can afford to sign up for One Year No Beer. Those things were really, really important in everything that we've set with our pricing and how the programs all work.
Just coming back on is that most people enter into the One Year No Beer world in various ways. They come through the podcast, come through PR, or Facebook, et cetera. They come in and they start. I'm going to try a trial. Nobody comes to sign up for the community. Nobody is like, I need the community to help me change my relationship with alcohol, but yet that is exactly what people need. There's this old adage, sell people what they want, give them what they need. People don't realsze that they need a community or how powerful it is.
I think the last bit on here—and then I will let you talk, my lovely wife—is that the truth of the community is that most of it is subconscious. It is so small and it’s so interweaved you don't realise. Looking onto that, just a Facebook group? But there are lots of Facebook groups out there. Yeah, but this is different. People are cultivating vulnerability, pouring out their lives. This is a place of trust where people are feeling inspired. It's a very special place.
The sense of belonging there is massive. That sense of belonging is then when somebody says to you, come on mate, just have a shot. You’re like, hang on, no. I have a sense of belonging here, and it's about going to this challenge and being alcohol-free. I think that's why it's been very successful.
Jennifer: You just said that the community. You felt very lonely when you were trying to white knuckle it on your own. Coming into the OYNB community, that’s where it changes because no matter what your journey is, there's always going to be someone in there that has a similar journey as you, who has the same goals as you. There’s always someone to relate to you to communicate with. Also, you mentioned now, you don't not drink, you just drink much like us—not very often but we don't put a label on it. We have a drink if we fancy it. We have no attachment to it, and that's our journey.
Not everyone has that journey. Some people choose to never touch it, and that's very important that they have that as well. We have some people commenting on these podcasts, how can you talk about you guys drinking. This is not a sobriety journey. Some people are on a sobriety journey, some people are just changing the relationship with alcohol, and more so, getting to the point of having no attachment to alcohol. It doesn't mean anything.
Can I have a drink, I fancy it. It’s entirely up to me, but it doesn't consume my day, time, energy, or health. It doesn't cost anything for me to have a drink if I want to. That’s where you are now as well. That must be a very nice feeling for you having gone through that first try and then the second try. Tell us a little bit about how you felt in the breakthrough.
Johnny: After the first three weeks of not drinking, I started to feel incredible. I became very angelical about it. I used to tell everyone. All of my friends, all of my family, they were just like shut up with the alcohol-free business. I did, I felt so good. Virtually everyone drinks. There are moderate drinkers, they might have just a glass full. They're not totally boozers, but they’ll have a glass of wine, they’ll have a couple of beers.
One example that I always related back to, I used to meet my friends every now and again. We’d meet up in the pub and have just a couple of beers just to catch up and then go home. We weren’t drinking to go and get drunk. We were just literally going to the pub, catching up. Those two beers would affect me the next time. I didn’t realise that until I stopped drinking.
What I then wanted to promote was going alcohol-free, it’s not going completely alcohol-free. There are certain occasions you might want to have a drink, but on the occasions where you're not going out to get drunk, why drink alcohol? Alcohol will affect your sleep and will affect you the next day. The alcohol-free alternatives now taste just like the real deal. What frustrated me was after three weeks, I started missing beer. But then ventured into the alcohol-free beer world. I went online, bought some from Dry Drinker and Wise Bartender. I was amazed by how good some of them tasted.
Whenever I’d go out to the pub, to a restaurant, or to a bar, they only had the big brands that everyone knows of. I didn’t like those. I then came up with the idea—I’ve always wanted to start my own business, and I love this alcohol-free movement. I researched loads about it, saw that more and more people are going alcohol-free. It’s a great movement, but I have […] experience, and I've got […] I'm going to start an alcohol-free beer brand, and I'm going to make my mission to get into pubs, bars, and restaurants so that when I go out, I've got a good option.
I made a product for myself. I know there are people like me who would want to drink a better option. So then I started the journey of creating an alcohol-free beer.
Jennifer: I think you have just done such a good job. I would be so proud of just having it in a pub because the bottle looks good. The label looks good, the branding is on point. I can see that in pubs and people would be like, yeah, I'm drinking my UNLTD, here it is. People are like wow. We’re going to make sure that on the podcast page, we’re going to put photos so people can see what it looks like, and obviously link to your socials and everything. You guys should see this. It’s very, very stylish.
Ruari: Tell me a bit about the journey of setting this up and where you've got it today.
Johnny: I had no prior experience of brewing or with the drink industry. It was completely alien, initially. I just spent hours on Google initially and researched about it. I found a brewer and I told him about my mission and vision of what I wanted to create, and he’s a brilliant brewer. He developed a recipe over the next 10 months. We did numerous brews which weren’t right. My […] to him was I wanted to create not just an alcohol-free beer but an alcohol-free beer, which will be good for you. Alcohol-free beer, if it’s brewed in a certain way is a nutritional drink.
There are two ways to brew. You can brew it like a normal beer and then strip out the alcohol, but we brew it up to 0.5%. If you brew it after that, the alcohol will normally kill all the good stuff. Obviously, you’ve got barley, malt in there. That’s all growing out of the ground. Those are nutritional products. They’ve got all the nutritional values that come out of them. When we get into the right place. We send it out to the lab to get tested, and it’s low calorie beer with only 23 calories per bottle. It’s got 30% of your vitamin B12 intake in each bottle. It’s low carbs. It’s vegan. We created a healthy beer, I love to call it.
Jennifer: I love that.
Johnny: I had a clear idea of how I wanted it to look. A lot of the other non alcoholic beers in the market are quite colourful and quite artsy. I wanted something that just looked a little bit more premium. Everyone likes nice things. Like you said, I’ll be proud to hold that in a bar. When I did quit initially and I was in a bar and I had one of the big brands, it’s like a beacon. People see it, why are you drinking that? Because it’s recognised but there's something out there. I just think it looks a little bit cooler, and hopefully, people will be proud to drink.
Jennifer: Yeah, I can see that at sporting events as well. In some sporting events, they tend to hand out a nice fresh cider or beer at the finish line, which doesn’t make sense. But one of these, I would totally drink one of these. It’s a bit nutritional as well. I could totally see myself having one of those after. Whereas I would never drink an alcoholic drink after a race, but I can see your products on the finish line for sure.
Johnny: That’s what I noticed in the group, in the One Year No Beer. This is what inspired me as well. For so many people and their stories, they give up the booze, and then they could start exercising a lot more. If people constantly putting up pictures of they’ve done a marathon, they’ve done 10K. They’re doing all these things. I was exercising more. My product isn’t necessarily for people who try to convert them to stop drinking. But the people who do stop drinking, they're more health-conscious.
For me, if I could choose the healthy alcohol-free beer I’ll choose the healthy one because I'm more health-conscious.
Ruari: I just saw some interesting research and I'm ruining the statistics. As always, I just like to create a poetic license and double whatever number. It is in my favour of whatever the style I want, but it’s something like—during the survey—70% of millennials are expecting to drink alcohol-free drinks over Christmas this year.
Johnny: I saw something like that.
Jennifer: They would want low calorie because the millennials, they're very health conscious and all the social media and all that. They want to look good and having a low-calorie option. A lot of people say with non-alcoholic versions there's a lot more sugar, there are a lot more other additives and stuff. The fact that your product is a good healthier option, I can see the millennials.
Ruari: I had this vision two years ago, three years ago, four years ago and I was like wait to walk into the bar that’s equal and you feel equal. They're not going to look at you like you're some kind of alien when you ask for an alcohol-free beer. We’ve moved past that. I started and it was like that, they went down to the bottom of the shelf, they blew the dust off it, backs blew. It was warm, they poured out. They gave you a frilly glass, different from everybody else's just to make you feel like a complete weirdo.
The whole place was looking around, like who's that guy drinking that weird stuff. We've definitely moved on from that, but we're still nowhere near the equal place where you see all the spirits now coming out. It's amazing. Consumer demand must be huge. Lyre’s is an example. They got 13 products now. There's so much going on there in this alcohol-free space. I can't wait until the bars are up to beat. A bit difficult for them at the moment, I appreciate it. It’s not a good world right now for bar owners.
Going round that, how has coronavirus affected things for you and where are you taking this?
Johnny: When we launched, we were trying to launch in June. In March, when we went into our first lockdown, obviously, it was a little bit worrying. In a way, it made me focus more on just a smaller part of the market that we could focus on. We had a great start. We sold out within a couple of weeks. I think then, we've had a very steady increase in sales each month.
Initially, it was just me. Obviously, I had a brewer to make the beer, but we've grown our team now. We've got a marketing team and a sales team involved. We’ve got pretty big plans for next year. We've already secured a couple of big contracts with some big bars in the city. One of them, in the bar that I actually met my wife in, which is—
Jennifer: That’s awesome. I love that.
Ruari: Would you have met her if you were sober?
Jennifer: Would you have had the confidence? I’m joking.
Ruari: Would she have fancied you if she wasn’t eight pints in? Come on.
Johnny: You know what, it's really funny because, at the time, I would never go up to anyone unless I've had a couple of drinks in me. It was definitely a little bit tipsy when I spoke to her. When you take away the alcohol, the first month or two, you're turning into a water life and you sort of feel a little bit nervous just by being in a bar where everyone’s drunk or everyone’s drinking. As time goes on, I was feeling more and more comfortable. You see people get more and more drunk, and it’s actually quite amusing to watch.
Jennifer: It’s that first half an hour or hour, once you get past that, then you're like, actually, I'm pretty good. I know I'm going to wake up tomorrow and feel pretty awesome and these guys are going to be reeling for days.
Ruari: There was no question admitting this in front of my wife. I hope she doesn’t punch me in the face, but I was more attractive—which wouldn't be hard—once I knocked the booze on its head. I knew that because I was having more conversations later in the evening having not drunk. I wasn't running around everywhere trying to show off, dance off things, and everything else. I was more centred, calm, and authentic. I could remember what I was doing. My communication was clearer—all of those things.
Despite saying would you have had the balls because back then you were a different person. You’ve felt like you needed alcohol to have this Dutch courage. The thing is now that you've removed alcohol, you're like I don't even need the Dutch courage. It was the alcohol that was creating the need for Dutch courage in the first place. It was the alcohol that was making me feel like I don't have any confidence, I'm anxious here, and I don't know about approaching women blah, blah, blah.
I think that that's a big difference and a slight distinction of what the alcohol-free superpowers, as we call it. The limitless pill.
Jennifer: You had some interesting statistics, a number on the website. Why don't you talk about that? During the first lockdown, some 3 million people chose to turn to non-alcoholic alternatives. I mean that's huge, isn't it?
Johnny: Yeah. The last year when I still felt like it was pretty—obviously, Rauri […] so it was completely different. Last year, it still felt quite small. But in the space of a year, the alcohol-free movement has grown so much. There’s so much more press about it. There are suddenly more people saying that they're not drinking anymore. Loads of celebrities are not drinking anymore, which obviously was a bit of a platform to promote it.
Alcohol-free sales grew 30% during the lockdown. It's the fastest-growing sector in the drinks industry. Going back to what Ruari said, one in four 18-24-year-olds—this was last year—don’t drink at all. I think it's definitely the younger generation. When I was 18, 19, it was Britain’s culture. If you didn’t drink, you were weird.
Ruari: I drank but I was still weird.
Johnny: More and more people from the younger generation growing up are going to be drinking this. I made a prediction last year when I came up with this UNLTD brand that in 10 years, I predict that the majority of people would want to drink just because—not how smoking used to be. Everyone used to smoke, and then it was saying how bad it is for you. It is sort of taboo now. I think it will be the same with drinks. If younger people aren’t drinking, older people eventually are going to become older and older. I think just the whole attitude towards alcohol is changing
Ruari: The landscape is shifting. I felt like that. I felt exactly like you. I thought it would happen in a decade. When I started this, I thought this paradigm shift is going to happen in the next few years and we were going to miss it. All I can see is paradigm shifts happen really, really slowly. If you look at the World Health Organization, they predicted a 20% increase in alcohol consumption in Europe and the US over the next decade.
This alcohol thing is not going anywhere anytime soon, but 100% I share the vision with you that there will come a time that the vast majority of people choose not to drink, but I think the time zone is much longer. That's really positive. It’s positive for you, it’s positive for me. It's not positive for the world. I wanted to write to the World Health Organization and say, excuse me, here's how we're going to change your predictions to challenge them. The reality is, we're still at a time in the world where more people are becoming drinkers than they aren't as they come into the funnel. I think we've got another decade, two, three decades before we get to that place.
As you know, growing this beer brand and One Year No Beer, the opportunity for you in this space is growing enormously. It's a massive, massive space.
Jennifer: I'm curious to hear, the people close to you or around you, have you seen—in the beginning, they’re all like, why are you not drinking? Come on, be more fun. It's been sometime now. Have you seen a shift in someone or your close environment that's going, hang on a minute, maybe he’s onto something. Having that knock-on effect.
Johnny: I’d say that the majority of people who are very close to me, obviously, immediate family and close friends, they have. In the last year, we choose to take a break from alcohol just based on me selling it to them. Because they see how much I've changed and improved. I think people are like, I want a piece of that.
Jennifer: I want a piece of that. Look at what he's doing. Look at how he's looking, feeling, doing, and all that stuff. That's what we love in what we do. I remember, I'm from Sweden and there's a huge drinking culture up there, especially up in North Sweden. My family is like, what do you mean you're not drinking? They couldn't even imagine it. Whisky, beer, they like to party on the weekend. My dad could not believe it.
He would always make fun of Ru not drinking, just jokingly fun. The next time we went up to Sweden, we're sitting out having lunch and my dad went, would you guys like a non-alcoholic Carlsberg? We both went, sure, because we were always carrying the six-pack into the house and they were laughing at us. He opened his drinks fridge and it was 80% full of Carlsberg 0.0. He said we've swapped this. We might have a glass of wine at the weekend, but during the week, we only ever have this to lunch. I mean it blew my mind.
Ruari: That was mind-blowing, her dad.
Jennifer: It was mind-blowing.
Ruari: We never saw that coming.
Jennifer: Never say never. If people say, I'm sticking to this. I've done this my whole life. We never force him. We never said anything to him. He literally just observed what we were doing, what we did, and how we felt. Funny enough, my dad is today a month alcohol-free and he feels amazing. Once you feel the benefit you're like, hang on a minute, I'm not saying he's not going to have a drink but he's seeing and feeling the benefits.
It's never too late. Some people are like, I've been drinking my whole life. I'm old now. I'm above 60, why should I change? Again, why not? You could feel even better. If you feel pretty good, what if you can feel even better? I love that my dad—at 65—is transforming his relationship with alcohol because it's never too late.
Johnny: I think even your first program, the 28 days, what affects people—if you take just a three-week break of drinking, at that point, you really see the difference. You feel the difference because I think when people do take that break then that's when people will stop or change their relationship with alcohol. Continuously from that point, their view of alcohol is completely different. Unless you take that first leap and have a big enough break to feel the benefit, then you’ll never know.
Ruari: What's going on here is that for most people, they are suffering in silence. They're ignoring the hangovers. They're ignoring the regret. They're ignoring this cloud that’s showing up in their life, the stuff they said, they don’t know what they did last night, the blackouts, the cost, the money, and all of that are like sweat under the carpet with this is normal. This is normal, it's okay, it’s normal.
In the back of their mind they're like, is it? Should I change this? Do I have a problem? I don’t have a problem. Could I stop? I don’t know. I did try January last year. Most importantly, talking about it is a no-no because it’s so normal.
They don’t come up and go, I'm starting to question this alcohol thing. By the time they get to that point, they've got quite far in their developed thinking. That’s not an early conversation. You don't wake up and go to the pub and go like, I'm worried about how I'm going to feel tomorrow. They're just not said.
The thing is, the only way we reach people—the people that we love, the people around us, and the people that see us—is by us doing ourselves, showing up, and just keeping that. Then they see it. You can talk and talk and talk and talk, but for many people, until they see it, that's when they think I'm going to give this a try.
You hit on it earlier exactly when your mate called you up and met you one-on-one. Not in front of the group. It was like, what's this thing? How do I do that? Like you did with Andy. It’s the same situation because shame, I don't want to admit the problem, blah, blah, blah, but I've seen you change.
I just wanted to commend you again. This is an amazing thing we are doing. We’re not just doing it for ourselves. Yes, think about the impact we're doing for ourselves, but by choosing to change your relationship with alcohol, you are reaching people who need to hear this message. You are reaching people who are suffering quietly who might just come and do the same thing as you. I think that's amazing.
Jennifer: You're helping future people that want to drink something cool. Who wants a beer that’s like, hey guys, if this is going to make your journey a little bit easier, this is a cool option, this is what I've got. You're doing people service with this product that you have as well because you are consequently going to have people come into the bar and be like, can I have an UNLTD? Everyone will know what that is. It’s going to get more normal. We just can't wait until we go into a place where almost half the fridges are filled with nonalcoholic options.
Ruari: We just need to get an OYNB label on your bottle.
Jennifer: We sent you a couple of small stickers.
Ruari: If you want to change your relationship with alcohol.
Johnny: I think we’re doing a promo code with One Year No Beer in December. One Year No Beer is close to my heart, and it really is the reason I've started all of this. We have got a promo code for 20% off for One Year No Beer members. If they do OYNB20, they get 20% off on the website.
Jennifer: That is awesome. When will that be available? Did you say it now in time for Christmas?
Johnny: That’s available now.
Jennifer: Guys, get your cupboard stocked up for Christmas. Make sure you got those options at home. It would look great on the Christmas table. If you can have one or two people coming over, it would be a great thing to offer out. And it’s from one of our members, which I love so much.
Ruari: Yes. That’s the best story. That's the best bit. That's why we fully support everything you're doing.
Jennifer: OYNB alumni.
Ruari: Yes. I wonder if we got together with all the different businesses and podcasts because there are loads of podcasts now, and there are businesses, and all sorts of that have come out. World records, multiple world records, it would be great to just pull this stuff down. It's not like we created this, but this is what people went on to achieve once they removed alcohol, and we were a part of helping them do that, which is an honour. Johnny, where do we find it? How do we get our hands on it, and where do people find more from you?
Johnny: UNLTD is listed on most of the alcohol-free online retailers. You can buy directly from our website, which is www.unltd.beer. It’s like unlimited but abbreviated.
Ruari: That is very clever.
Johnny: When I was naming it, I loved the name unlimited but it was just too long. I know it sounds silly, but I'm just like, let’s just shorten it down. Unltd.beer is the website.
Ruari: This is good, your product. Well done.
Johnny: Thank you.
Ruari: Go and get yourself UNLTD, which is the whole point of it. Be unlimited because that's really the whole message here, isn't it? The booze is actually so limiting.
Johnny: That was sort of the reason for the name as well because it was going back to the Limitless film. I wanted it to be called the beer Limitless, but I think that’s taken by a beer America. When I gave up, I felt like I'd unlocked my unlimited potential. I’ve said that. […] I want that UNLTD. Perfect. That’s where it came from.
Jennifer: You nailed it, and I love the .beer as well because that just pops it up perfectly. Go check them out on Facebook. Go and check them out on Instagram. We can’t wait to hear back from our audience. We can't wait to start seeing pictures of your beer show up on the newsfeed in our Facebook groups, because they will start showing up.
Guys, make the most out of this offer. It is OYNB20 if you go to the UNLTD website. OYNB20 and get 20% off. Get that stuff stocked up. Apparently, it sells out. You got to be quick. Let's see if it ships on to where we are here in Majorca, it might take a while.
Johnny: Yeah, I will ship them to you guys.
Jennifer: I might have to go and pick it up in Barcelona or something like that like what we have to do with our cat because of COVID but I will do it.
Johnny: It’s funny you say that. I'm in talks with a distributor in Spain. I'm not […] but we’re planning to license the brand out there.
Jennifer: That’s exciting.
Ruari: The largest alcohol-free beer market in the world is Spain.
Jennifer: It is huge here, and we have to say, they have got some great options. But that’s one thing. It’s good.
Johnny: Actually, it was a One Year No Beer member who contacted me. He was a Spanish guy, and he wants to license it out there. That was another connection with One Year No Beer, which is going to help the brand.
Jennifer: I love that.
Ruari: That’s so cool. Good job. Well done. Thanks so much for coming on the podcast. We look forward to hearing more from you soon, Johnny.
Jennifer: Thank you so much and we just want to wish you all the best, and please keep us posted because we love everything that you're doing. We really do wish you the best, and we’re looking forward to catching up on the podcast further ahead to see how you're doing.
Johnny: Brilliant. Thank you for having me and continue doing a great job because it really does improve people’s lives. Thank you.
Jennifer: That’s awesome. Thank you, Johnny. Take care.
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