January 3, 2023
For many, Dry January is welcomed with open arms. The annual challenge that sees participants ditch alcohol for the first month of the year, either to raise money for good causes, to reassess relationships with alcohol, or just to have a detox for the body and mind. But Dry January, in combination with the purse strings being tightened after Christmas, can be a heavy hit for the hospitality industry, particularly pubs.
Because of this, the initiative ‘Try January’ was born.
What is Try January, and what can we do?
Try January is an initiative to spark positivity at the start of the year and encourage people to try new food and drink in pubs, bars and restaurants rather than stay indoors or stick to ‘the usual.’
Try January doesn’t suggest that you need to consume more or that you have to stick to traditional soft drinks. Instead, it intends to put the control back into people’s own hands and encourages them to use the month to create new favourites in food and drink for the rest of the year. The choices don’t have to be crazy or even completely new, but they can be an exciting opportunity to mix it up and stay alcohol free.
The director of Campaign for Pubs and chair of the British Pub Confederation said:
“The pub is about so much more than having a drink, so we hope people recognise the important roles pubs play in our communities and get out and support them, whatever they choose to drink and eat.”
So, it’s important to still get out there and support local pubs, even in Dry January. There are more non-alcoholic options at the bar than ever before, and there’s of course some great grub on offer. So if you’re taking part, this doesn’t mean you have to stay away completely.
As a pub, what can I do?
If you’re a pub owner and have some anxiety around the drop in footfall because of Dry January, here’s a few things you can do:
Pub food promotions
If your venue serves food, this is a great opportunity to make the most of it. Why not run a discount for the start of the year? This will also help those who are feeling short on money after the festive period. It might also be handy to promote your healthier food, as this is also a focus for many at the start of the year.
Make the most of Dry January
If some of your customers are going to be participating in Dry January, it might be useful to try and make the most of it. You could look at crafting some unique alcohol-free cocktails, promote your alcohol-free beers, or do more promotion around the alcohol-free spirits you offer.
Run some more events
If your footfall is going to be down because of Dry January, it might be a chance for you to think outside the box and host some events! Why not offer more live music, quizzes, or even just community events? (We’d recommend the fantastic Rock and Roll Bingo). Give your customers an incentive to come along, even when there’s no alcohol involved.
So if you’re looking to participate in Dry January, best of luck! But remember to still try and support your local hospitality venues if you can. A visit to the pub doesn’t have to mean an alcoholic pint - it can be so much more.
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