6th January 2022
6th January 2022
Approximately 6.5 million people participated in Dry January last year, up from 3.9 million in 2020. With research showing that 1 in 5 people have felt concerned about the amount they have been drinking since Covid restrictions, more people are expected to take part in 2022. Dry January involves going alcohol free for 31 days.
The charity behind Dry January, Alcohol Change UK, is working toward a world free from alcohol harm. They fund, commission and share research; provide information and advice; work to ensure more and better support and treatment; encourage better policy and regulation; shift drinking cultures through campaigns; and work to change drinking behaviours.
Research from Alcohol Change UK suggests that more people than ever are planning a Dry January to reset their relationship with alcohol after a year when many have found themselves drinking more heavily.
Research has consistently shown that many people are drinking more heavily since the COVID-19 pandemic and associated restrictions began earlier this year. This research finds that close to one in three (29%) people who drink alcohol say that they have drunk more than in previous years. One in five (22%) have felt concerned about the amount they have been drinking since COVID-19 restrictions began. A similar proportion have found themselves drinking earlier in the day (26%), drinking more often (31%) and drinking ‘to try and cope’ (23%).
Not all our experiences of the pandemic have been equal, and some groups are more likely to be drinking more often than others: people from BAME backgrounds are more likely to have been drinking more than white people, young people (18-34) more likely than older people, and those with children under 18 more likely than those with adult or no children.
One in three (31%) increasing and high-risk drinkers (those drinking more than the 14 units a week maximum recommended by the UK’s chief medical officers) are taking on Dry January, compared to one in seven (15%) low risk drinkers, confirming existing research which shows that the challenge is most popular among those who stand to benefit the most.
Evidence shows that Dry January is an effective and lasting way to cut down; research by the University of Sussex found that 70% of took on the challenge of Dry January are still drinking less.
Richard Piper, Chief Executive of Alcohol Change UK, said: “Many of us have spent recent times stressed, scared and tired – it’s no wonder that many of us don’t feel much like ourselves. When things get tough, we can find ourselves slipping into drinking habits we wish we could break – but Dry January can help. It’s our chance for a reset. 31 days to try something new, and to see some amazing benefits like brighter skin, a fuller wallet, a calmer mind and a better night’s sleep.”
He added, “There’s also great news for people who want to support their local pubs and other hospitality venues after a tough year: more and more pubs and bars are improving their alcohol-free offering, so head down and see what’s available at your local.”
Most of the bars, pubs and eateries at The Pantiles offer alcohol-free or low-alcohol options on their menus. For example, if you’re looking for some heavenly hops why not visit Sankey’s Oyster Bar for their Punk AF Low Alcohol IPA (0.5%) – juicy tropical fruit mixed with grassy notes and a hit of resinous pine, all sitting on a solid foundation of four different malts. Or their Free Damm Alcohol Free Lager with a clean, sparkling, transparent amber colour and an intense aroma with hops taking centre stage along with hints of fresh white flowers.
If you’re looking for something with a little more colour, head to Framptons for their range of mocktails! The menu includes the Dark n Calm – Lyres dark cane spirit, lime and ginger beer, the Virgin Mojito – Lyres white cane spirit, sugar, lime, mint and soda and the Sober Tom – Lyres dry London spirit, lemon, sugar syrup and soda.
Whether you have chosen to embark on Dry January or not, be sure to head to The Pantiles this month and sip into something special!