Former hellraiser Peter Hook turns teetotal

Peter Hook, the legendary Manchester musician has revealed that his booze fuelled hellraising days are behind him and he has adopted an alcohol free lifestyle.

On Tuesday 3rd September the former bass player for New Order and Joy Division will be officially opening the new distribution depot and showroom of the The Alcohol-Free Shop of which he is a regular. Affectionately known as Hooky, he recently had a book published about his days in Joy Division which was the follow up to his best selling book from 2009 about the rollercoaster years of the Hacienda.

He is soon set to embark on a tour of the US with his new outfit; Peter Hook and the Light. Before he hits the road he agreed to take part in the opening of The Alcohol-Free Shop’s new and stylish premises just outside of Manchester City Centre.

TV doctor Sarah Jarvis, is also supporting The Alcohol-Free Shop and appears on their web site.

Dr Jarvis said: “While many people can drink within safe limits, I see daily the serious consequences of excess alcohol. I am delighted to support a worthwhile service such as this one, which seeks to give people more high-quality alcohol free options for drinking. Whether people wish to cut down or to lead an alcohol free life, alcohol free wines and beers can make it easier and more enjoyable to make healthy changes. I wish the Alcohol-Free Shop all the success it deserves.”

Campaigners from the charity FASAware, which educates on the dangers of consuming alcohol during pregnancy, will attend the launch to promote their forthcoming National Foetal Alcohol Syndrome Awareness Day.

The showroom, where customers can try for free before they buy, is designed by bespoke furniture craftsman Paul Case who has been shortlisted for awards by style-gurus Terrence Conran and Wayne Hemingway.

Guests will be entertained by Manchester Jazz Trio Smoke and Jacket and food will be provided on by Dragon’s Den winner and renowned Northern Quarter restaurant Sweet Mandarin voted Britain’s best Chinese Restaurant by TV chef Gordon Ramsey.

In Manchester’s trend-setting tradition, The Alcohol-Free Shop was established in 2006 by recovering alcoholic John Risby and his wife Christine.

The Alcohol-Free Shop became the UK’s first retailer to specialise in de-alcoholised and alcohol-free wines and beers tapping into a niche market for adult alternatives to alcohol among health- conscious consumers.

John discovered a wealth of de-alcoholised and non-alcoholic wines and beers and determined to make the best alternatives available for those who avoid alcohol at least some of the time.

Since then the online shop has attracted a string of high-profile customers as well as regular buyers across the UK and continental Europe.

The business began with John and Christine packing boxes in a 100 sq ft self-storage unit. Within weeks they had outgrown the space and continued expanding into larger units over the next 18 months.

In 2007 the business launched the alcohol awareness campaign Alcohol-Free Week which has become recognised on the annual ‘events’ calendar.

In 2008 they took on a 6,000 sq ft warehouse in a converted Manchester mill where they opened their first showroom.

Customer demand for better access and facilities prompted a further move to a purpose-built warehouse and shop in 2009.

That same year, Christine won the Manchester Women in Business award and in January 2012 The Alcohol-Free Shop won a Small Business Sunday (SBS) award from former TV Dragon Theo Paphitis.

This year, The Alcohol-Free Shop expanded into a 12000 sq ft warehouse with a team of staff at Manchester Industrial Park in Newton Heath.

The new shop is being opened after months of planning and investment in a modern showroom for customers to relax and enjoy tasting, order collection and in-store sales services.

The Alcohol-Free Shop is currently among nominees in the Manchester Food and Drink Festival 2013 awards when customers get to vote for their favourite Food and Drink Retailer.

John tells his story in his blog: ‘From rock bottom to mountain top’

John said: “We are a unique drinks retailer, proud to be based in Manchester, and established as the UK’s leading online and off-trade specialists offering the widest range of alcohol-free and de-alcoholised wines and beers available under one roof.

“We have a number of celebrity and high profile customers and we are delighted that Hooky could be with us today.”

Our plans this year include expanding and improving our services to pubs, restaurants and independent drinks retailers with a dedicated wholesale branch.

The event will include the unveiling of a series of new works by Manchester artist Suzanne Henderson who has been commissioned to design wine labels for the new Lono range of de-alcoholised wines due to be launched this autumn.

Suzanne said: “Gosh, this is very exciting (and a little nerve racking). After spending the last year or so doodling away I am finally looking to put my drawings somewhere where people can see them, for real, in person. The drawings are created in pen with watercolour detailing. These are the largest drawings I have ever done (measuring 70x50cm) and although the detailing takes such a long time I really like them.”

Cancer charity campaigner and artist Dave Kirkwood will also be displaying his Micro Mob artwork which he hopes will raise awareness and cash for young cancer sufferers.

The Micro Mob artwork has involved inviting twitter uses to retweet the cancer campaign message in return for having a character representing them on a sketch of hundreds of images that will be sold to raise funds.

Dave last year launched the storytelling fundraiser 365 which involved a different writer each day contributing to a developing story which he illustrated to raise thousands of pounds for charity.

Celebrities involved in the project include Ricky Gervais, Jonathan Ross, Stephen Fry, Lauren Laverne, Johnny Vegas and crime author Val McDermid.

Dave said “I’m not naïve enough to think I’m making any difference by drawing lots of tiny characters, I’m not doing any breakthrough research, not saving lives with expert surgery, not caring for people nor comforting relatives. I’m just drawing pictures but we’ve raised nearly £20,000 already, money that has gone directly to the people who are saving lives and caring for people.”

The launch event is open to members of the press and the public, and samples of all our drinks will be available.

For more information visit www.alcoholfree.co.uk