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Online Trends

Published January 23rd 2020

Dry January 2020: 3 Beverage Brands Successfully Riding the Wave

Dry January presents a huge opportunity for brands to dazzle consumers – but which are doing it best?

Cruelty-free, gluten-free, meat-free – the products we buy are increasingly packaged with the language of liberation.

And yet, when January rolls around each year, it’s constraint that leads many of us down the aisles in search of these ‘x-free’ alternatives.

Most specifically, I’m talking about the popularity of alcohol-free beverages in Dry January (an annual pledge to sobriety) that’s getting more popular by the year.

"Dry January" Google searches interest (US)

Source: Google Trends

While Dry January has been around for a while, the options for those taking a break from the booze have previously been limited. Bars and supermarkets might stock alcohol-free alternatives, but it’d be rare for the consumer to be dazzled by the choice on offer.

So, we thought we’d take a look at three brands that are standing out during this year’s Dry January.

BrewDog: The long-term ‘AF’ revolution

One company that’s making waves in this area is Scottish beer brand BrewDog.

BrewDog have a good record for supplying high quality alcohol-free alternatives for beer lovers choosing to go sober. We found people praising the brand’s options going back many years.

BrewDog’s been growing its clout in the alcohol-free market for a long time, but we’ve recently seen a number of initiatives that had solidified the company as an innovator in the field.

In 2020 so far, BrewDog hosted its first alcohol-free beer festival and opened a 100% alcohol free bar in London.

They’ve been handsomely rewarded – hype around the brand has grown on social media over time within both the alcohol-free and Dry January conversations.

BrewDog mentions within alcohol-free and Dry January conversations online

Source: Brandwatch Consumer Research

And it’s all translated into some very healthy financial results, even before Dry January 2020 kicked off.

“Very strong sales of our core beers, especially our new alcohol-free range, along with a sharp uptick in food sales and pre-booked business led to industry-leading like-for-like sales performance in our bars in December,” says group chief operating officer David McDowall.

The company’s focus on alcohol-free alternatives, in line with changing consumer preferences, has been a big win.

Perrier: #MakeDryFly

Perrier was a brand we did not expect to see popping up in the Dry January conversation. Famous for sparkling water, the brand aren’t exactly an alcohol-free alternative in the traditional sense. That said, they’ve been offering support to Dry January fans throughout the month with their #MakeDryFly campaign.

And it seems to be serving them well – we found multiple consumers saying the beverage was helping see them through to the end of the month.

Brandwatch image
Source: Reddit

Heineken + Daniel Craig

In tandem with the upcoming James Bond film, Heineken has been promoting their alcohol free beer with the help of Daniel Craig.

In the ad, Craig approaches the bar and shuns the iconic vodka martini (shaken, not stirred) in favor of an alcohol free bottle of Heineken.


The ad has won Heineken plenty of mentions in the Dry January conversation. And, let’s face it, if James Bond can’t make something cool then who can?

Sobering stats

Millennials are drinking less alcohol, and the popularity of sober ‘holidays’ like Sober October and Dry January appear to be getting more and more popular. There appears to be a culture shift in the works – one that celebrates alternatives to the prominence of alcohol.

If beverage brands are to thrive, paying attention to trends like this and seeing how they can adapt to ride the wave is a good idea.

BrewDog, Perrier, and Heineken offer some great examples of how listening to the consumer and staying true to the brand can result in successful campaigns.

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