Brewer helps launch of alcohol-free pub for Alzheimer’s patients to combat ‘sundowning’

PUBLISHED: 10:11 29 April 2019 | UPDATED: 10:11 29 April 2019

Johnny Clayton, Rob Fink and James Kindred of Big Drop at Mindful Drinking Festival 2017 Picture: VOIST

Johnny Clayton, Rob Fink and James Kindred of Big Drop at Mindful Drinking Festival 2017 Picture: VOIST

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An Ipswich-based brewery has played a part in helping dementia patients by coming up with a non-alcoholic beer to be served at a specially-created bar at the hospital where they are being treated.

Rob Fink and James Kindred of Big Drop Brewing Company  Picture: BIG DROP BREWING COMPANYRob Fink and James Kindred of Big Drop Brewing Company Picture: BIG DROP BREWING COMPANY

A Welsh hospital is trialling the pub for its dementia patients to help combat the effects of 'sundowning' – the name coined for a form of increased agitation and confusion they can feel in the late afternoon or early evening.

The 'Derwen Arms' is a fully-functioning pub at the Cefn Coed Hospital in Swansea, which is pioneering the concept of encouraging patients do the things they would normally do before they were diagnosed with dementia.

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The team at Big Drop Brewing in Ipswich, which specialises in a range of alcohol-free beers, helped a local Welsh brewer, Boss Brewing, to come up with beers which could be supplied free of charge to the bar.

Sundown is brewed to just 0.5% ABV and in the classic Brown Ale style most accurately reflecting the 'pint after work' that patients/patrons are likely to recognise.

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Rob Fink, founder and chief executive of Big Drop Brewing, said: “When our friends over at Boss Brewing explained the dilemma at their nearby hospital we jumped at the chance to help out.

“It's such a brilliant idea to recreate a pub as a safe haven for patients who are no longer able to visit their local themselves. And, because it's all about creating a sense of familiarity, we've made Sundown as authentic as possible.

“It's made in much the same way as any normal craft beer so it looks, smells and tastes the same as a pint does too. It just happens to be alcohol-free. We shared the expertise that goes into making Big Drop with Boss Brewing so that they can now make sure the beer flows freely at the Derwen Arms.”

The hospital's clinical lead, Dawn Griffin, said: “In the evenings some of our gentlemen can get unsettled. They think they've finished their shift for the day and they are of the generation where they would go to the pub for a pint with their friends after work.

“We thought what better way to help them than to get a pub on the ward. The reaction has been huge. They're socialising well and can take their relatives and friends there for a pint when they visit. They often ask us when the pub is opening.”

Big Drop was launched in October 2016 by ex-City lawyer Rob Fink, along with his old school-friend and band-mate James Kindred. Along with brewer Johnny Clayton they have come up with techniques to make alcohol-free craft beer without the need for artificial removal of alcohol.

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