UNLTD. - the origin story

April 2023 | 10 minutes

We’ve just started a brand-new year and, of course, one of the most common new year’s resolutions is to either cut back on alcohol or quit drinking completely, with Dry January® a popular (not to mention honourable!) pursuit for many drinkers concerned about their alcohol consumption over the festive period.

However, it doesn’t have to stop there and no doubt there are many people out there who continue with their alcohol-free ambitions well into February… and beyond!

Interestingly, this is in large part how the UNLTD. beer brand was born, a business that prides itself on providing would-be drinkers with an amazingly delicious - and actively healthy - alternative to booze.

Founder of the brand Johnny Johnson originally lived a life that will sound familiar to many: working in a City of London job where social demands were de rigueur, with client lunches and post-work drinks a daily occurrence.

As fun as this certainly sounds every once in a while, the regularity of it all really started to take its toll on both his mental and physical health - and crunch time came in 2019, when the pressures had become so insurmountable that he was inspired to ditch the booze for three months.

Although he missed the taste of beer, what he didn’t miss was the late nights, the lack of productivity, the lack of exercise, the poor-quality sleep and so on.

During his three-month sobriety stint, Johnny felt his health gradually improve, as well as his interpersonal relationships - and this was all the inspiration he needed to carry on with his booze-free endeavours.

He began exploring the world of alcohol-free beers and discovered that there were some delicious options out there, helping him to continue enjoying the taste without having to compromise on health.

However, there was just one snag… the only good non-alcoholic beers could only be found online and weren’t readily available in pubs, bars and restaurants, clearly problematic for anyone keen to continue being sociable in hospitality settings but who didn’t want to drink alcoholic beer and risk a hangover.

Another key discovery Johnny made was that not only were these booze-free beers very tasty indeed, but they could also actually be nutritionally beneficial for the drinker - and the rest, as they say, is history! The UNLTD. brand was born!

The company was launched in the middle of the first pandemic-related lockdown in June 2020, somewhat tricky timing given that the hospitality sector had to shut up shop for the best part of an entire year.

But perseverance is something that Johnny has in spades, and he wasn’t going to let something like a pandemic get in his way, launching the website and the first product UNLTD. Lager anyway… and he was immediately vindicated in his decision, with the product selling out in an impressive two weeks.

Since this auspicious beginning, the brand has gone on to claim all sorts of industry awards, including two golds and one silver from the World Beer Awards, a Great Taste Award and three gold taste awards from the European Beer Challenge, a serious testament to the quality and popularity of its products.

From a drinking perspective, the nutritional benefits of the beers are no doubt a huge part of their appeal. It’s not just that they taste exactly like beer, so they can help quitters stick to their guns more effectively, it’s also that they do a lot of good at the same time.

UNLTD. now produces the lowest calorie beers in the UK, with its Lager only 23 calories per bottle and the IPA a mere 13 calories, so they can all be enjoyed entirely guilt-free. They’re also rich in vitamins B6 and B12, as well as being sugar free, vegan-friendly and gluten-free… so there are all sorts of benefits to be reaped.

Discussing his brand and product offerings, Johnny had this to say:

The rise of alcohol-free drinks has been incredible in the past few years and the stigma around consuming them has long been forgotten. The whole UNLTD. team are really proud to help support those who choose not to drink or those who moderate with our tasty and nutritional beers.

Although we’ve waved goodbye to Dry January® now, we’re well on our way towards Sober Spring, a three-month alcohol sabbatical that runs from20 March to 20 June..

If you’re keen to continue staying alcohol-free this year but think you might need a bit of a helping hand, the UNLTD. beer range could be just the ticket… so stock up the fridge and see how far you can go!

Top Tips from UNLTD. to stay on track with your sober goals this Spring

The sun’s come out, and pub garden is calling. We know it’s hard to ignore the sound of excitement and joy over the pub fence, but we have some fighting tips to keep you on your booze-free journey this Spring:

  1. Research your local pubs to see if they have alcohol-free options before you book a meal. In the last 3-5 years, AF alternatives have come bursting off the scene. Sugary drinks used to be your only option, but now it’s pretty much guaranteed you’ll find an AF beer stocked in your local.
  2. If you’re not too worried about hitting the pub, stock up on your favourite AF beverage at home. Make sure your fridge is full of the good stuff, so you won’t feel tempted to purchase alcohol on a whim.
  3. It’s never too late to set clear goals – we encourage you to continue building upon your goals as your mindset changes throughout Sober Spring. Maybe you can achieve more than you give yourself credit for! Remember, goals can simply be “waking up 15 minutes earlier every day, to soak up my coffee in peace”. Seek your own greatness.
  4. HAVE FUN! Do something completely different, or get back into an old hobby you don’t seem to have the time for anymore. If you’re worried about being in a triggering atmosphere, opt for family friendly venues.
  5. Stay connected. Sounds like an easy one, but it’s important to remember not everyone is on your journey. Keep your support network around you to keep up your motivation when you hit a lull. You’ve got this!

UNLTD. are this year’s Headline Sponsor of Sober Spring and are offering our supporters an introductory offer of 20% off of their 12 or 24 bottle/cases, simply use SOBER20 at checkout. You can also get free shipping by using code SOBERSPRING at checkout.

Check out UNLTD’s website here to take advantage of their offer