Dry January, the month-long sobriety challenge, began almost ten years ago in the United Kingdom as a public health campaign. It has since become a mainstream challenge in the United States and is a popular way for participants to begin the new year with a healthy reset.
In 2021, one in seven Americans participated in Dry January, according to a survey, which was up 10% from the previous year. The attitude toward alcohol consumption is shifting as more people are choosing to forego alcohol in favor of a healthier option. This year we’ve seen a rise in non-alcoholic cocktails and beer, fully sober bars, and sober socialization.
Today we’ll take a deep dive into Dry January, why it’s popularity is rising, how brands can make an impactful presence during this time, and how to incorporate influencers meaningfully.
It’s More than Just a Month
The number of drinkers who participate in Dry January is expected to be bigger than ever in 2022 as interest in the sober movement continues to grow in the United States. Demand for nonalcoholic beverages is up 60% year-over-year and more than half of the US population is actively trying to drink less alcohol (66% for the Gen Z and millennial population).
We’re seeing a cultural shift take place as more people opt out of drinking and into healthier alternatives. On Instagram, #sober has over 3 million posts with #soberliving not far behind. Other social media platforms are no different, on TikTok #sober has 1.9 billion views and #dryjanuary has 18 million views.
Propelled in part by the Covid-19 pandemic, we’ve seen the beverage industry start to get more involved in the movement. A once very niche market has found its place in society and is capitalizing on the shift toward a more sober lifestyle. Brands large and small are finding their place in the beverage industry, trying out physical retail options, increasing marketing spend, and working closely with relevant influencers to get the word out about their products.
Brands are Making a Splash
The nonalcoholic drink market is expected to reach $1.6 trillion worldwide by 2025. In addition, an independent drinks accelerator, says there are currently 71 nonalcoholic brands and counting in the U.S. and U.K. Some of these are offspurts of already established alcohol brands, while others are strart-up and challenger brands whose sole focus is nonalcoholic alcohol.
Let’s take a look at a few brands that are killing it on social media:
Just last month Blake Lively introduced her line of clean-label nonalcoholic drink mixers. The actor-entrepreneur has been living a sober lifestyle for quite some time and wanted to bring a product to the market that is “crafted for your favorite spirits but tasty enough to fly solo.”
While the brand is still in its early stages we can already get a feel for what they are about from their social media. The brand keeps it light and fun on their Instagram by showing off their glass bottle packaging and sharing drink recipes (alcoholic and non-alcoholic).
One of the most well known alcohol-free spirit brands on the market is Ritual Zero Proof. The brand recently signed a lucrative deal with Whole Foods to stock their Gin, Tequila, and Whiskey substitutes in stores nationwide. Ritual’s social media gives a holistic view of what their brand is all about. From giveaways, to branded content, to recipe videos and more you can see that the brand is determined to be a major player in this cultural movement.
Partnerships will be Imperative
With more brands dedicating themselves to creating products that allow for non-alcoholic options, we’re seeing a larger number of people take part in challenges such as Sober October and Dry January. This year, as previously mentioned, Dry January is expected to have more participants than any previous year so it will be vital for non-alcoholic brands to get the word out about their products and partner with influential members of the sober and sober-curious communities.
You don’t have to be a non-alcoholic brand to share meaningful content during the month-long lifestyle challenge though, there is room for everyone at the table. Brands outside of the niche can take part by building partnerships with non-alcoholic brands for giveaways, put on a sober event during the month, or work with talent in the community to share information and resources on your social media pages.
The online sober community continues to grow everyday and may be larger than you think. From some of the world’s biggest celebrities (Russel Brand, Blake Lively, and Miley Cyrus), to influencers who live sober lifestyles (Kayla Itstines, Jaci Smith, and Keaton Milburn), to accounts that dedicate their content to tips and information on sober living (Tempest, Sober & Social, and Sober Evolution).
Finding the perfect partners to represent your brand during Dry January will allow you not only to encourage more people to take part in the month-long challenge, but will also allow you to reach more people who may be interested in giving non-alcoholic alcohol a try.
We’re here to help
Now is the time to get moving on Dry January campaigns, and we’re here to help you make meaningful partnerships with sober-focused talent. Hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org if your brand is looking to activate a Dry January campaign.