Club Soda Founder: “When I see a problem, I want to fix it”

“You wouldn’t have wanted to have been my friend when I was at school,” says Club Soda Founder, Laura Willoughby. ” I’d have had you doing all sorts of things.”

Laura describes herself as a doer: “When I see a problem, I want to fix it.”

That level of drive has seen her career move in a number of different directions, but always with politics and social change playing some role.

In this episode of the Career Conversations series, recorded in front of a live audience at our Inspiring Careers in Food event, she reveals all about her journey.

It started with student politics, progressed to a powerful role in local politics, and even saw her dabble in Westminster politics.

Throughout all of that, alcohol was a feature.

Laura says she never got to the stage where she needed help, but says she started to bore herself and found she was drinking without even thinking about it.

After a period of turning up to pubs with teabags so she had something intersting to drink whilst still socialising, she decided to start Club Soda.

It’s all about promoting non-alcoholic options that are designed for adults and still serve as a treat (“cola poured from a hose is not a treat,” she says).

Club Soda has gone from success to success and that is largely down to Laura’s committment, can-do attitude, and an unwavering desire for change.

Listen to the full episode to find out about the latest exciting evolution in the Club Soda journey, why Laura did not particularly enjoy university, and her unlikely connection to the Premier League football club, Arsenal.

Laura Willoughby MBE, Founder, Club Soda

Laura Willoughby MBE is the founder of the world’s largest mindful drinking, Club Soda, and the UK’s foremost expert in low and no alcoholic drinks. 

Receiving an MBE for services to the community in 2004, Laura’s devotion to Club Soda means hundreds of thousands of people are supported in their journeys to live well by being more mindful about drinking alcohol. 

Laura is an IWSC judge, and was voted one of 2022’s 100 most influential women in hospitality by CODE, named as one of Drinks Retailing’s latest Top 100 Most Influential People in Drink and is a Trustee for The Drinks Trust.

laura willoghby

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Club Soda Founder: “When I see a problem, I want to fix it”