Premium tea replaces wine as businessmen`s drink of choice

Premium tea is replacing wine as the tipple of choice for businessmen as long boozy lunches become a thing of the past.

Hotels and restaurants that once relied on customers entertaining clients with a bottle or two of Rioja have been forced to turn to alcohol-free alternatives to satisfy their increasingly sober clientele and stay in profit.

Instead of alcohol, diners are now choosing to pair their lunches with exotic teas costing up to £18 a glass following new bans on daytime drinking in the City of London and a growing number of Muslim clients.

One Michelin-starred restaurant in the City, Club Gascon, recently introduced a menu of £15 for three teas to go along a five-course meal as an alternative to its deal of £20 for three wines.

Thomas Rabuel, the restaurant’s manager, told The Times he began to notice a decline in the number of clients having liquid lunches six months ago.

‘It’s not the law, but now a company can punish employees if they have a drink,’ he said.

‘It’s challenging for us because as a restaurant you make more of a margin on your wine than you do on your food.

‘All of these big companies are not allowing people to drink any more at lunch, except the very big managers or people who are coming to sign a big deal. We looked at the numbers and saw that they were decreasing.’