Is Dry January here to stay? More people than ever going alcohol-free, says charity

This January was the “driest on record” following a growing trend among young people giving up alcohol, one charity has said.

Research found that this month, one in six UK adults would take a break from drinking, which is an estimated 8.5 million people.

This trend is especially popular among the younger generation, the so-called Gen-Z and millennials, many of whom have given up alcohol entirely.

Andrew Misell, the Welsh Director of Alcohol Change UK, told CJS News he noticed a “cultural trend” as more people than ever signed up to its Dry January campaign. He said:

I think we’re living in a very interesting situation, a bit of a post-pandemic hangover where a lot of people drank more during the lockdown…but I think Dry January is definitely here to stay. It’s something that feels very normal for a lot of people now.”

Andrew Misell, Welsh Director of Alcohol Change UK

Alcohol Change UK has been promoting its Dry January campaign for eleven years, but there has been a recent surge this year in the number of people who have downloaded their Try Dry app, with many trying it out for the first time, it said.

A YouGov survey found that 39% of 18 to 24-year-olds do not drink alcohol at all, making them the most sober age-group. The polling also found that 44% are regular drinkers of non-alcoholic options.

This is often down to health reasons, economic reasons and growing peer pressure to make the switch to sobriety.

One man, who gave up alcohol this month told CJS News he was glad he did it.

I did Dry Jan because all of my mates were doing it…I’m glad I’ve done it but it wasn’t necessarily my idea to do it.”


The YouGov survey also found that more people are consuming less alcohol due to an increase in non-alcoholic alternatives.

In response to this, Andrew Misell said: “That’s really encouraging and you wouldn’t have seen that a few years ago. That’s really helpful for people doing dry January or for those driving home which happens all year round.” 

The Guardian reported that Guinness plans to triple the production of it’s non-alcoholic option, especially as 39,000 pubs across the UK now offer booze free options.

But as we approach the beginning stages of the Six Nations this weekend, young people like Megan said she will continue to be conscious of her drinking habits following this January:

“I think going into Feb now, a lot of it is going to revolve around pubs and the rugby again. So that’s going to be a big contrast going from January to February. I’m definitely going to be more conscious going forward but won’t cut alcohol out completely”, she said.