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Businessman is back On the Wagon with his non-alcoholic beers

PUBLISHED: 13:56 21 October 2019 | UPDATED: 14:32 21 October 2019

Michael Stankard and some of the beers he sells at his stall in Chatsworth Road Market, lower Clapton. Picture: Marcus Ring

Michael Stankard and some of the beers he sells at his stall in Chatsworth Road Market, lower Clapton. Picture: Marcus Ring

Marcus Ring

Michael Stankard left alcohol - and a career in the City - behind to sell non-alcoholic beers in Hackney.

Michael's favourites are the pale ale and the stout and he hopes to add alcohol-free wines and gins to the selection too. Picture: Marcus RingMichael's favourites are the pale ale and the stout and he hopes to add alcohol-free wines and gins to the selection too. Picture: Marcus Ring

Once he'd sourced some quality British-brewed non-alcoholic beers he crammed them into his parents' garage in De Beauvoir - where he was living - and began looking for customers around Hackney.

"I ended up quitting my job and handing out flyers to local residents and telling them a bit about my story. I'd say: 'I got these drinks, do you want to try some?' I was packing suitcases and riding my bike and jumping on buses - just dropping off beers door to door. It was all very Del boy."

The ex-insurance underwriter gave up drinking at the beginning of this year. Still working in the city back then Michael noticed a lack of choice in the bars and pubs he frequented.

"It was a genuine light bulb moment when I was in the pub with colleagues and I just thought why isn't anyone selling good non-alcoholic beers - there must be some out there," he said.

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Michael has suffered from bouts of depression from the age of 20. He found himself "drinking through it" but it didn't help - drinking made things worse. He said: "A lot of business was won through relationships and to build relationships you had to be out and about, wining and dining."

Booze culture became such a problem in the insurance industry that Lloyds of London, the world's most well-known insurance marketplace, banned drinking during work hours and replaced its onsite bar with a cafe.

Michael sells his award-winning beers from Big Drop Brewery every Sunday at Chatsworth Road Market and has recently pitched at Hoxton Market. He has started wholesaling beer to local Hackney bars and restaurants like The Arancini Brothers.

Michael is keen to promote the many health-benefits of non-alcoholic beers which are rich in minerals and vitamins and plans to raise awareness about alcohol and its affect on mental health.

Someday he hopes to open a non-alcoholic bar in Hackney.

"My mum was born in Hackney and her primary school was next to Hoxton market where I'm trading, so its like I've gone back home," Michael said.

Visit onthewagon2019.wixsite.com/website

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