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Why Dry January provides great opportunities for brands

Since its start in 2013, Dry January has grown to be an annual event for many households across the UK. 4 million of us took part in 2020, with the number predicted to increase to 6.5 million this year.

Why are so many of us willing to ditch the booze? There’s a financial benefit to going teetotal with spendings of around £16.70 a week. The average Brit spends £868 on alcohol each year. Quitting drink for just one month could save around £72, which is an easy way to claw back some of the cash spent over Christmas.

The reason most of us are looking to dial down our drinking is to improve our health and wellbeing. We’re more aware of illness than ever before, with the COVID-19 pandemic putting the importance of good health into even greater focus. Consumers are now asking themselves how to give their overall wellbeing a boost – and cutting down on alcohol is a big part of that.

Dry January gives consumers the opportunity to try out a teetotal lifestyle, with many going on to limit their drinking throughout the following year. It’s also a fantastic opportunity for brands to showcase their alcohol alternatives and push themselves front and centre of the market.


Low alcohol brands are booming

Research into non-alcoholic trends in 2020 shows sales in the no-and-low alcohol sector have risen by 506% since 2015, with numerous exciting new brands entering the space.

According to Distill Ventures, the world’s first independent drinks accelerator – devoted to building and scaling the drinks brands of the future – 27% of non-alcoholic consumers in the UK are aged 35 – 44, with 35% of consumers listing food and drink as a top interest. This shows brands should consider key demographics when planning their marketing strategy.


Non-alcoholic spirits are dominating digital

Our drinking habits have changed in the last year – understandably, the number of people drinking in bars and restaurants in 2020 decreased as we’ve attempted to recreate those drinking experiences in our own home. Research from Distill Ventures shows non-alcoholic beer and wine drinkers have relied more heavily on supermarkets, whereas non-alc spirit drinkers have preferred to surf the web to make their purchases, using Amazon, speciality websites and brands’ websites directly. At-home consumption of alcoholic drinks has also increased throughout 2020.

E-commerce is booming, and brands are looking to step up their digital strategy to reach wider audiences. A strong brand, effective marketing strategy and sublime execution will undoubtedly help brands grow throughout the coming year.

According to Distill Ventures, creating authentic brand connections with consumers is more important than ever for non-alc brands. The on-premise experience is on hold, so consumers are unlikely to discover new alcoholic or alcohol-free drink brands at a restaurant or by chatting to the bartender. With this in mind, there’s a big opportunity for brands to develop great at-home experiences, through virtual tastings and the like.


There’s still an appetite for alcohol

Despite Dry January being a hit in 2021 so far, there are still plenty of people willing to sip up. Whilst the number of people taking part in Dry January is predicted to have increased, some boozy Brits are doubling down on their alcohol consumption.  Stats show alcohol sales have increased considerably compared to last year. Beer sales are up by 49%, wine sales have increased by 33% and spirit sales have experienced a widespread rise too.

With the pandemic raging and most of us stuck at home, enjoying a drink or two seems like the least of our worries. People would normally spend money on a night out in pubs, bars and restaurants. Instead, they’re spending it in supermarkets and off-licences.

Research from Alcohol Change UK says 1 in 3 people drank more in 2020 compared to the year before, with 1 in 5 becoming concerned about the amount they’re drinking. However, it’s interesting to note that 31% of increasing and high-risk drinkers intend to take on Dry January, compared to just 15% of low-risk drinkers. This suggests we’re becoming significantly more aware of the amount we’re drinking – and as a nation we’re setting out to drink more mindfully.


Here at Lucre, we’re delighted to work with several exceptional food and drink brands. Delivering a marketing strategy that’s on-brand and gets people talking (and tasting) is all part of a day’s work.


We’re excited to see the industry evolve and develop this year. In the meantime, good luck to everyone taking part in Dry January! If you’re giving it a go, why not get in touch on Twitter and let us know how you’re getting on?