Low and no alcohol drinks: At festivals and in recovery

This post is a listing of some of my recent writings elsewhere. From looking at the date of the previous post I can confirm that I have been busy, with no time to update this blog…

The big thing for Club Soda in the Summer of 2017 was our, and the UK’s, first Mindful Drinking Festival. It was in August at Bermondsey Square in South London, and was a roaring success. Nearly 50 non-alcoholic drinks brands were there, as well as food stalls, beer yoga, talks and tastings, and much more. The weather was on our side too, as the Sunday of the festival was the only sunny day of that and the following week – as seen in the photo above. And we estimated that 2,500 people came to try the drinks on offer. And “mindful drinking” suddenly became a big thing, listed on the Guardian as a “trend”.

There are some images and videos from the festival on Club Soda website. Afterwards, I wrote a guest blog for the  Institute of Alcohol Studies: Club Soda hosts the first-ever Mindful Drinking Festival. I also wrote a guest blog for A hangover free life: Mindful Drinking Festival & Alcohol Free Drinks In Recovery. This article tackles the issue of whether people with alcohol misuse problems should avoid non-alcoholic beers and wines. The Club Soda view is that they can be really helpful in many ways, and it’s only if they trigger you to drink “the real thing” should you avoid them.

CAMRA also had their annual beer festival, and I did my second annual analysis of the alcohol-content of the real ales on offer. The main finding is that the average ABV has gone up slightly from last  year, which I really wasn’t expecting. And the lower-alcohol choice is still more or less non-existent at this event.

And finally, Laura and me did a joint Club Soda Sunday webinar on what we have learned about moderating your drinking habits.

The news for the next two months is that we are organising the second Mindful Drinking Festival, this one a pre-Christmas event, on 24 and 25 November at Spitalfields Market. So I will most likely be too busy to update this blog for a few weeks again…


What I’ve been up to – Spring 2017 edition

The big news is that the Club Soda Guide pilot project is now over. The Guide is still very much alive though, with over 250 venues signed-up so far, more joining every week, and the first batch of great places for mindful drinkers announced. We have also just released our evaluation report “Building a Mindful Drinking Movement” which has all the highlights from the project.

Non-alcoholic beers are becoming a bigger and bigger thing. Just the latest new entrant to the market is Nirvana, who have built the UK’s first dedicated low and no alcohol brewery in Leyton, east London. Their beers are very good, and they also do other fun stuff like non-alcoholic beer and yoga sessions. I also wrote a quick post about the five best non-alcoholic beers.

And low/no beers were a bit of a feature at Morning Advertiser’s MA500 pub event in Liverpool in May, where we were invited to talk about the Guide, and beer writer Pete Brown led a tasting of 0.5% beers and cider.

So that’s been the spring. The summer will mostly be taken by the organisation of UK’s first Mindful Drinking Festival that Club Soda is putting together in August, at Bermondsey Square. We are bringing together some of the best beers and wines under 0.5% abv as well as some great new soft drinks and even newer things like kombucha.

And we are also hoping to make some noise about the UK’s out-of-date labelling rules and regulations on low and no-alcohol drinks. It is an absolute mess at the moment, and so complicated that even lawyers are having a hard time figuring out what you can and can’t call “alcohol-free”.

Windsor Castle pub

Recent pub writings

We have been busy with the launch of Club Soda Guide, our listings site for the best licensed venues for mindful drinkers. A post at NudgingPubs tells the story in terms of innovation for and behaviour change with pubs.

Windsor Castle pubOver at the Guide website, I put together suggestions for pub crawls in the City and Hackney in three blog posts: Shoreditch and Old Street pub crawl routes, Dalston and Stoke Newington pub crawl routes, and City of London pub crawl routes. There is still a couple of these to follow in the next few weeks.



Forgot to mention this earlier, but the Club Soda team (Laura, Cassie, me) wrote a little e-Book: “How to go dry this January (and make it stick)”. It is based on some free booklets we wrote and gave away to Club Soda members during (dry) January, with some extra material thrown in. The only drawback is that the book is only available for Kindle from Amazon at the moment. But we’re working on an expanded book which we’ll share more widely.

In other news, I’ve also been writing an eight-week email-based behaviour change course for people wanting to cut down or quit drinking: 8 Weeks to Change Your Drinking. The first customers are on day 23 now, and I’m looking forward to the first proper feedback from them next week.

Some writings, 1998-2004

The following “bibliography” should be a complete listing of all my published academic writings from 1998 to 2004. I’m posting it here both for the world to see, and as a handy place where I can find it myself if I ever need it again! I’ve added brief comments for some of the items; sometimes just to remind myself what the papers were all about. I’ve also included links to everything that is available online (most of the old working papers now only via web.archive.org). Outliers vs. nonlinearity in time series econometrics is the main theme here, and there are also several papers on long memory in the form of fractional integration. My non-academic writings, including a rock gig review at Rumba, to follow some other day perhaps!

Outliers in nonlinear time series econometrics. Annales Universitatis Turkuensis, Series B, Number 243. University of Turku

This is my economics PhD dissertation, which contains an introduction and four articles: three published ones (in Communications in Statistics, Finnish Economic Papers and Applied Financial Economics), and an unpublished one analysing the impact of outliers on ARFIMA model estimation, with a simple robust two-stage estimation method.

Peer-reviewed journal articles
The effects of outliers on two nonlinearity tests. Communications in Statistics – Simulation and Computation, vol. 29, pp. 897-918 (2000)

A simulation study, showing how even a single outlier in a time series of 500 observations can seriously distort some commonly used tests for nonlinearity (ARCH and bilinearity tests here). Previous work had only considered more frequent outliers – this paper shows that the number of outliers can be very small, and the adverse impact still significant.

Outliers in eleven Finnish macroeconomic time series. Finnish Economic Papers, vol 14, pp 14-32, (2001)

Evaluating the impact of outliers on macroeconomic time series analysis. Conclusion: outliers can have a significant impact, and their treatment should always be carefully considered. I’m afraid I have yet to come to a completely satisfying conclusion about the best way of handling outliers in empirical work.

Outliers and predictability in monthly stock market returns. The Finnish Journal of Business Economics, vol 4/2002, pp 369-380 (2002)

Do outliers influence whether stock markets are predictable using simple time series forecasting methods? With mixed results.

Long memory and outliers in stock market returns. Applied Financial Economics, vol 13, pp 495-502 (2003)

First, a simulation study showing that the presence of outliers will bias time series (fractional integration) long memory estimates towards zero. An empirical example then shows that long memory is detected in stock market data more often if outliers are first taken into account.

Unemployment persistence of different labour force groups in Finland. Applied Economics Letters, vol 10, pp 455-458 (2003)

Fractional integration long memory models are used to estimate a measure of unemployment persistence for different labour force groups. The results show that unemployment is less persistent for females and young people, than for males and the entire labour force.

Long Memory in a Small Stock Market. Economics Bulletin, vol 7, pp 1-13 (2003)

An empirical assessment of  the presence of long memory in Finnish stock market data. Depending on the testing method used, statistically significant long memory is detected in 24% to 67% of the series, which is considerably more than what is usually found in data of this kind. This article is based on a working paper with some additional results (see below).

Genetic algorithms for outlier detection and variable selection in linear regression models. Soft Computing, vol 8, pp 527-533 (2004)

Possibly my best idea, and also the most cited thing I’ve published. Proposes a new method for simultaneous outlier detection and variable selection, which overcomes a number of problems in this kind of statistical analysis. I’ve also got an application of this method for economic growth data, which I’ll try to polish and share here soon.

Research reports and working papers
Outliers in time series: A review. Research Reports No. 76, University of Turku, Department of Economics (1998)

My statistics Master’s dissertation. A review of statistics and econometrics research on outliers: their impact, detection, treatment, and modelling.

A nonlinear moving average test as a robust test for ARCH. Research Reports No. 81, University of Turku, Department of Economics (1999)

An idea I had – would using a test for one kind of nonlinearity work in detecting another kind, which may often be difficult to detect? Especially when outliers are involved? The answer: not really…

Small sample properties of a joint ARCH-bilinearity test. Research Reports No. 84, University of Turku, Department of Economics (1999)

Another idea – if you create a simultaneous Lagrange multiplier test for two different types of nonlinearity, how would that compare to the individual tests? The answer: about the same…

Aittokallio, T., O. Nevalainen, J. Tolvi, K. Lertola & E. Uusipaikka: Computation of restricted maximum-penalized-likelihood estimates in hidden Markov models. Turku Centre for Computer Science, Technical Report No. 380 (2000)

My main contribution here was to propose a specific kind of hidden Markov model (HMM) for modelling financial data series. The estimated HMM had two components to model the majority of observations: one with low, one with high volatility, to mimic “normal” and turbulent periods. Additional HMM components were then added to model outliers, or very extreme observations. Sadly this was never published anywhere.

Nonlinear model selection in the presence of outliers. Research Reports No. 90, University of Turku, Department of Economics (2001)

Playing around with model selection and outliers using information criteria, with limited success. But this work led to the later genetic algorithm paper in Soft Computing.

Suomalaisten makrotaloudellisten aikasarjojen stationaarisuus ja pitkän muistin ominaisuudet. Research Reports No. 95, University of Turku, Department of Economics (2002) [Stationarity and long memory properties of Finnish macroeconomic time series]

Showing that once you take outliers and level shifts into account, there is very clear evidence for the presence of long memory in macroeconomic data. I can’t remember why I wrote this one in Finnish, as the results could have been of interest outside of Finland as well. And this paper also does not seem to be available anywhere online any more?

Long memory in the Finnish stock market. Research Reports No. 103, University of Turku, Department of Economics (2002)

The Economics Bulletin article above is based on this working paper, which has additional results for volatility data, and results of estimated ARFIMA-FIGARCH models as well.

Book reviews and short notes
Vielä yksikköjuurista ja työttömyysaikasarjojen tilastollisesta luonteesta. Kansantaloudellinen aikakauskirja, vol 1/1999, pp 159-163 (1999) [A further note on unit roots and the statistical properties of unemployment time series, the Finnish Journal of Economics]

Rationaalisista odotuksista. Sosiologia, vol 2/2000, pp 145-146 (2000) [On rational expectations, Sosiologia – the Journal of Westermarck Society]

Miten olla hyvä taloustieteilijä? Kansantaloudellinen aikakauskirja, vol 2/2001, pp 339-341 (2001) [How to be a good economist? A book review of McCloskey, D. N.: How to be human – though an economist, the Finnish Journal of Economics]

Poikkeavat havainnot epälineaarisessa aikasarjaekonometriassa. Lectio praecursoria. Kansantaloudellinen aikakauskirja, vol 1/2002 [Outliers in nonlinear time series econometrics. Doctoral lecture, the Finnish Journal of Economics]

My introductory lecture at my PhD viva – a brief summary of my dissertation, aimed for the general public. I used my father as a guinea pig to test whether he would get it. (He did!)

Book review of Dhrymes, P. J.: Mathematics for Econometrics (3. ed.). Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, series D – the Statistician, vol 51, pp 411-412 (2002)

Book review of Ghysels, E, Swanson, N. R and Watson, M. W. (eds.): Essays in econometrics: The collected papers of Clive W. J. Granger.  Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series D (The Statistician), vol 52, pp 113-114 (2003)

Book review of Tsay, R. S.: Analysis of financial time series. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series D (The Statistician), vol 52, pp 128-129 (2003)

Book review of Zivot, E. and Wang, J.: Modeling Financial Time Series with S-Plus. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series D (The Statistician), vol 52, p 705 (2003)