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How to maximise ‘Dry January’

With ‘Dry January’ upon us and an estimated 130,000 people having taken part in the 2022 iteration, hospitality businesses cannot afford to ignore a growing consumer desire to reduce their alcohol intake. By ensuring they cater specifically to these customers and find ways to win their business, firms will tap into a rapidly expanding market which will yield value over the long term. There are several ways to maximise Dry January and appeal to those consumers who are participating, capturing the extra potential revenue in the process.

Targeted promotion

Promoting non-alcoholic offerings is the first step for businesses looking to notify the swathe of consumers participating in Dry January that they are able to facilitate their drink needs. This can be achieved through several relatively inexpensive methods.

From creating non-alcoholic specials or promotions and highlighting these options on menus, to using social media and other marketing channels to promote non-alcoholic options as well as educating staff on alcoholic options for when they might be requested, businesses need not see teetotal customers as a barrier to success.

In fact, many businesses choose to make their bartenders life easier by stocking an array of canned, ready to drink cocktails behind the bar. Consumers have grown accustomed to a diverse range of canned non-alcoholic alternatives to familiar favourites and will likely expect hospitality venues to provide a decent selection of these.

Moreover, designated drivers are of course a long-standing staple of the bar and club scene which persist post-Dry January and all year round. Creating non-alcoholic drink options specifically for these individuals can be a great way to attract and retain business.

Variety is key

Modern non-alcoholic consumers are in luck due to the sheer variety of options available – a smorgasbord of flavours including kombucha, mocktails and non-alcoholic beer and wine.

Hospitality firms should make themselves well acquainted with these teetotal staples, putting their own spin on them of course to remain unique and true to their style. This will mean participating customers will still have options when at your business.

The rise of premixed non-alcoholic alternatives should certainly not be overlooked. Indeed, Gunner Cocktails launched its renowned non-alcoholic cocktail, The Saint, a 21st Century take on the 19th Century classic effervescent mix of bitters and lime, in 2021 and hasn’t looked back since. Capitalising on the growth of the NoLo drinks market, Gunner Cocktails is forecasted 500% growth in 2023.

Incentivise consumers

Despite businesses’ best efforts, there will of course be rampant competition for hospitality firms during this period. In order to stand out from the crowd, companies will do well to offer incentives to those participating in Dry January.

Simple but effective incentives include discounts such as discounted non-alcoholic drinks or free non-alcoholic options with the purchase of a meal, as well as developing rewards for customers who have successfully completed the month, perhaps using stamps to track progress, with the promise of a discounted meal or free non-alcoholic drink to follow.

Develop experiences that attract

As any good hospitality professional will be all too aware, it is experiences that attract consumers. Ensuring your business is offering experiences focussed on non-alcoholic options will be essential in remaining a cut above the rest with this increasingly mainstream demographic.

Hosting events and promotions during Dry January are a great place to start – who doesn’t love a happy hour? So, why not make a mocktail happy hour for those taking part? Group experiences such as non-alcoholic cocktail making classes will also be a hit with this portion of consumers.

Overall, hospitality businesses will benefit greatly from a change in mindset surrounding Dry January and non-alcoholic consumers. Not only will catering to these individuals widen the customer base, showing a commitment to responsible drinking and support for public health initiatives will help both teetotal and regular consumers place more trust in your firm as a reputable establishment that has the consumer’s best interests at heart.

Words by Dannie McDonald, Managing Director at Gunner Cocktails

5 January 2023 - Dannie McDonald