Dry January: low-and-no sales surge by $295m in bars

The trend towards ‘less but better’ drinking continues to gain traction in the US and abroad, and new data from market analyst CGA has shown that the movement has reached a new high – and it’s significantly contributing to the hospitality industry’s revenues.

In the US, 35% of adults of legal drinking age participated in Dry January this year, an uptick compared to 2019’s figure of 21%.

Of those Dry January participants, 78% chose to visit the on-trade during their month of sobriety. This demonstrates a change from 2019, when 61% of Dry January participants drank out-of-home less than normal or not at all.

The number of Dry January devotees choosing soft drinks in bars and restaurants remained consistent between 2019 and 2022, at about 50%. But CGA also noted a ‘massive’ increase in consumption of non-alcoholic alternatives.

In 2019, 5% of participants tried non-alcoholic beer in the on-trade; this year that number soared to 29%. Mocktail consumption increased from 7% to 23% in 2022; 26% drank alcohol-free wine, and 22% ordered alcohol-free ‘spirits’.

‘As soft drink engagement stayed relatively flat, this suggests visitors traded up from a no beverage purchase or complimentary water to a non-alcoholic category,’ CGA commented.

Beyond Dry January, CGA research demonstrated that almost 75% of participants plan to continue drinking alcohol-free beer, ‘spirits’ and mocktails, and 64% intend to drink alcohol-free wine.

To learn more about the low-and-no landscape in 2022, check out our pick of the category’s brands to watch.

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