• By Mike Reed
  • Owner, Reed Words Ltd. Creative writer for brands


The notion of opening an alcohol–free bar in Liverpool might sound like folly, given the stereotypes that abound about that part of the world.
But that’s exactly what The Brink is, and the ambition of the brand goes much further than just creating a quirky venue.
It’s the brainchild of Action on Addiction, created to provide a proper, inviting, credible place where those recovering from alcohol and other dependencies can go and hang out without fear of temptation.
Very sensibly, the creators didn’t want to bring any of that ‘drop–in centre’ feel to the brand, though. They treated it like a commercial bar, and asked our friends at SB Studio to give it a cool, contemporary, fun look and feel.
As part of that, SB asked us to give the bar an equally engaging tone of voice. And as things developed, language became part of the very fabric of the brand. Literally: our copy even ended up carved into timber panels that form part of the structure of the bar itself.
We wanted to make The Brink as universally inviting as possible. So one of the first things we did was to create ‘lyrical lists’ describing all the different people who might come to The Brink.
From this (and more), the SB team were able to choose ‘chunks’ to use on bags, labels, and just about any form of ‘collateral’ (ugh) The Brink needed.
We also wrote a whole set of lines for specific labels and signs, following the client’s instructions to be appropriately cheeky and risqué as we went along. (Hence No fake breasts on the organic chicken sarnies.)
We wrote a sort of strapline too, which we were especially pleased with. The Brink overturns all one’s expectations of a bar, so we gave the tradition a verbal twist too, with the line, Drink the dry bar.

The Brink also got some welcome early PR when Action on Addiction’s new patron, The Duchess of Cambridge, came visiting and tried the special ‘Duchess’ smoothie. (Image from the Liverpool Echo.) Since then, it’s gone from strength to strength.