Dry January: Yasmin Spark Advocating Inclusive Sober Spaces

Picture of Yasmin Spark. Yasmin is a black woman with dark brown hair. She has her hair tied up in a bun and is wearing a black long sleeved top with a pink skirt. She is holding up her mocktail up in the air and looking at it.

Yasmin Spark is the founder of Align Events, the UK’s first and only non-alcoholic mobile cocktail bar.

Yasmin is passionate about creating inclusive spaces for all to have fun in, and to stop sober shaming by normalizing people who don’t want to, or can’t, drink.

Read on to learn more about Yasmin and Align Events.

What is Dry January?

Dry January is a campaign to encourage people to take a month break from alcohol, to allow your body to reset, and to introduce healthier drinking habit for the rest of the year.

Alcohol Change encourages people to take part in the campaign to sleep better, have more energy, improve your mental health, save money, and even get brighter skin!

Yasmin Spark Founding Align Events

It's just felt like such a steep learning curve, and I mean that in the best way possible.

Yasmin Spark

Before Align Events, Yasmin had a language consulting business which had had a few setbacks during the pandemic. Yasmin joined the Hatch Launchpad programme to relaunch this business online. 

During this programme, Yasmin went to the spa with her mom for her birthday where the bar served no none-alcoholic options save heineken a zero, which sparked the question, ‘Why isn’t there a greater range of options for sober people?’

After a session on aligning your mission with your vision, ensuring founders had passion for their business, Yasmin decided to pivot her business idea to something she did feel passionate about. 

Since launching her business, Yasmin has become a leading voice in making sober spaces inclusive and safe for all with Alcohol Change UK, Club Soda, and another Hatch graduate, Sophia Ukor’s, Conversations with Sophia.

Picture of Yasmin Spark in the Hatch office, sat on the couch facing the camera with her hands helf over her lap.
Yasmin Spark, founder of Align Events in Hatch office

What is Align Events?

We want more inclusivity, more choices, and de-stigmatization.

Yasmin Spark

Align Events has two main components; its mobile cocktail bar, available for hire, and collaborative events.

Align Events’ mobile bar is a great way to ensure everyone enjoys your party or event, whether they drink or not. It’s unlikely anyone will feel like they’re missing out with her delicious, gorgeous, one of a kind non-alcoholic cocktails.

Align Events also works with sister spaces who share the same inclusivity ethos to run their own events. 

Coming up, for example, is a Dry January event that Align Events and Alcohol Change UK are collaboratively running, with music, prizes, and mocktail masterclasses.

The Shoreditch Dry

Join Align Events in Shoreditch for a fun-packed alchol-free evening.

As someone who has struggled with addiction, it is extremely important to Yasmin that resources are made readily available for those that need them, which is why 6% of all of her business profits go to support the work of  Alcohol Change UK.

Sobriety and Inclusivity

The biggest challenge is still inclusivity. Nondrinkers just want to be included.

Yasmin Spark

As the crux point that sparked the fire for Align Events, it comes to no surprise that inclusivity is incredibly important to Yasmin. 

At most bars, for example, those who drink can expect up to a dozen options where a non-drinker can expect two, or one, like a heineken zero. 

As something often neglected from our thoughts, Yasmin encourages us all to make sure we’re being inclusive in our decisions, which can be as easy as a quick google search.

De-stigmatization is very important in ensuring we are creating inclusive, safe spaces as well. It is important to remember that non-drinkers do not need a reason to not drink, if they do have a reason, they do not need to tell us, and pestering them to drink will only create a hostile environment. 

Yasmin is also passionate about making sober spaces inclusive for people of colour, queer people, and women, as majority white male spaces.

I was not in a supportive community that was diverse. When I went to AA, it's just like white people and their problems, but I have a lot of intersecting issues."

Yasmin Spark

Make Yasmin's Alcohol Free Bramble

Photo of Yasmin's alcohol free bramble

Ingredients: 

 1x shot of lemon juice

1x shot of lavender infused Earl Grey tea

1x shot of lavender and blackberry syrup

Plenty of ice

 A few blackberries

Yasmin’s secret ingredient

Method:

  1. In your cocktail shaker, add your lemon juice, lavender infused Earl Grey tea, and lavender and blackberry syrup with some ice and shake.
  2. Add plenty of ice to a glass, and strain the mixture into the glass.
  3. Top with blackberries and if you’re lucky, Yasmin’s secret ingredient, and serve.

Feeling inspired?

Join the Hatch family for support on your entrepreneurial journey. We support underrepresented entrepreneurs to develop the knowledge, confidence, and skills needed to launch and grow a business.

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