Dry January started small with just 4000 participants in 2013 in the United Kingdom (UK). Alcohol Change UK launched the campaign to give people a chance to experience the benefits of the alcohol-free life. The campaign is a commitment to stay alcohol-free or “dry” for the month of January. Since its humble beginnings, Dry January has expanded in the UK and grown in popularity. Now, Public Health England is also a partner in the campaign. In 2020, Dry January expanded to France as well.
Last year 3.9 million people participated in the UK campaign and this year polling by Alcohol Change UK reveals that 6.5 million people are planning to participate in Britain. This translates to about one in five among those who consume alcohol.
The poll also showed that one in four people are aiming to cut down alcohol in general in 2021.
Impressive results of Dry January
People who downloaded the campaign’s app “Try Dry” were twice as likely to try a complete alcohol-free month and be more mindful of their alcohol use in general.
Dry January can help,” said Dr. Richard Piper, chief executive of Alcohol Change UK, as per The Guardian.
It’s our chance for a reset – 31 days to try something new, and to see some amazing benefits like brighter skin, a fuller wallet, a calmer mind and a better night’s sleep.”Dr. Richard Piper, chief executive, Alcohol Change UK
Possibly the lockdown time, restrictions in bars and restaurants led to people becoming more mindful of their alcohol consumption leading to even bigger enthusiasm to take on the alcohol-free challenge. Overall, in recent years Britons have become more interested in “Nolo” which is no or low alcohol beverages.
The Portman Group, an alcohol industry funded group, reports:
- Almost two-thirds of UK adults (62.5%) have tried beers, wines or spirits in the “Nolo” category.
- A quarter (25%) of alcohol users consider themselves to be semi-regular consumers of low and no alcohol, with the highest consumption in Scotland (27%).
Separate data from Nielsen Scantrack suggests that low and no alcohol sales rose by 30% year-on-year. Movendi International reported last year that Dry January boosted no-alcohol beverage sales in the UK.
Additional research from the Portman Group shows that one quarter (26%) of UK alcohol users had cut the amount they had been consuming compared with prior to the first COVID-19 lockdown in March 2020, while a further 7% had stopped consuming alcohol altogether.
As popularity for “Nolo” beverages and the alcohol-free and sober curious movements take hold across the world, the choices also increase to match consumer demand. Movendi International reported last year on the growth of the alcohol-free lifestyle and alcohol-free beverages. Craft and small brewers and large corporations alike are now producing no and low alcohol beverages. New innovations in this sector have increased even more in the past year.
The Dry January campaign is one of the most influential initiatives to empower alcohol-free choices worldwide, to change an outdated alcohol norm and to promote sober curiosity. Over the years, it has grown into a worldwide community.