What is Zen Beer?

Find out what this website is all about and why I started it.


David Preston


Apr 11, 2021

Three years ago I stopped drinking alcohol. It sucked.

Ironically, I have tons of unforgettable memories that involve alcohol. I don't hold anything against those who choose to drink. I get it. Drinking is fun. Real fun. But in my mid-20's, there was a tipping point.

The scale had actually tipped years before I began to notice how much pain alcohol was causing me. I was 26 when I started to sit up and take notice. That was when I tried to stop the first time.

I didn't know it at the time, but in the early hours of the morning, after my 28th birthday in 2018, I had my last sip of alcohol.

I'll dive deeper into this part of my journey in future posts. (Ooh cliff hanger!)

black and white photo of the author sitting in an airport thinking
Me pondering life in 2017

During my first year of not drinking, I had no idea there were so many great alcohol-free beer options out there. When I shopped for groceries, I would grab a few bottles of whatever was on the shelf without much thought.

Like many others, I didn't believe you could enjoy a beer without the regular alcohol content.

That belief changed one night while out for dinner at a pub in London. I saw Adnams Ghost Ship 0.5% on the menu and gave it a try. It was the first time I sipped an alcohol-free beer and thought, "Wow, this is actually pretty good.". The next day, I found it in my local supermarket and it is still a favourite of mine to this day.

photo of author holding bottle of Adnams Ghost ship pale ale 0.5% ABV
The first alcohol-free beer I genuinely enjoyed

That discovery led me to look for more. I soon realised there was an entire world of alcohol-free beer that I had completely ignored. My quest had begun.

I haven't always had the idea to write about alcohol-free beer or my experiences as a non-drinker. But I am a creator at heart. I was a photographer and I work full-time as a designer.

I've always wanted to put something out into the world that others would get value from. I've tried writing about design. Making videos about photography. I even considered blogging about my love for golf.

I've lost count of how many domain names I've bought for my blog ideas. Nothing ever stuck because I wasn't excited enough about doing it.

One evening, I was buying more useless domains and thinking about this exact dilemma. Frustrated, I reached for an alcohol-free beer from the fridge. As I cracked it open I realised, "holy sh*t, I should write about alcohol-free beer".

Why Did I Start Zen Beer?

  • To help people discover great alcohol-free beer for any occasion.
  • To raise awareness around alcohol-free beer and it's growing market. I'd love to see more options in bars, pubs, restaurants, and supermarkets.
  • To support those who don't drink, no matter their reason.
  • To support those who do drink and are looking to cut-down, take a break, or stop entirely.
  • To be a resource for those who do drink and want to understand and support the decisions of those who don't.

The Two Parts of Zen Beer

You'll see two main categories of content on here.

indoor plant in minimal desk space
One part Zen

Zen: I'll share stories from my perspective as a dude in his 30's navigating life without alcohol. I was 28 when I stopped drinking. Alcohol was very much a part of my identity. It's been an interesting journey of self-discovery since I chose to stop and I want to start sharing some of the things I've learnt.

I'll answer questions like; how do I handle social situations without alcohol? What do I tell people when they ask why I don't drink? What caused me to stop drinking? Why did I abuse alcohol in the first place?

beer being poured into glass on minimal desk table
One part Beer

Beer: is where you'll see all the, well, beer posts. I'll share my favourite alcohol-free beers here. Think of them more as "Beer spotlights" than "Beer reviews". Partly because I know nothing about the beer making process, and partly because I want to focus on the positives of beers I love, rather than highlight negatives of beers I don't. I'll also publish videos of these on YouTube.

I am so stoked to put this out into the world. There is much more to come. Thank you for being here.


The best way to follow the Zen Beer journey is on Instagram



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