Dry January is soberingly popular in 2021

19 Jan 2021

Dry January, a month where people commit to going alcohol-free, is setting the stage to be record breaking in 2021. Almost double the number of people (6.5 million up from 3.9 million in 2020) are anticipated to participate this month, according to data from the British non-profit Alcohol Change UK. Per the study’s findings, 20% of British adults or 12.4% of the entire UK population are planning on participating in the month-long sobriety challenge.

Alcohol Change initially coined the term “Dry January” in 2013 with the launch of its campaign to encourage abstinence from alcohol. Its initiative originally attracted just 4,000 people, but since then, it has gained significant popularity. In its poll regarding the 2021 campaign, the non-profit found that one in four adults that are drinkers are interested in curtailing their consumption.

Dry January is soberingly popular in 2021
Image via Brooke Lark on Unsplash

But Dry January isn’t the only time that Britons are reducing their alcohol intake. Research from Drinkaware, an independent alcohol education charity found that 66% of Brits between the ages of 45 and 64 that imbibe are willing to try lower strength alcoholic drinks, up 15% from two years ago. A full 51% are willing to try alcohol-free alternatives, a number that has risen from 48% last year.

Both these studies are supported by sales data from Nielsen Scantrack that show low and no alcohol sales increased a full 30% year over year. This decrease has been linked to lockdowns with the Portman Group posting data revealing that a quarter of those who routinely drank alcoholic beverages decreased their drinking over the course of the pandemic.

Alcohol producers have readily responded to this change in drinking patterns by launching their own low- and no-alcohol alternatives to expand the appeal of their portfolios. Diageo has released several options, including an alcohol-free Gordon’s gin and an alcohol-free Guinness that was recalled within weeks of its launch due to contamination. Budweiser launched its first zero-proof beer in July. Startups are also gaining ground with Australia’s Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic Spirit Co. gaining $11.5 million in funding this past September.

A category once mocked, the low- and no-alcohol space continues to gain buzz, with Britain taking a leading position in the development of this global trend.

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