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  • Writer's pictureVeronika Bajnoková

Is Dry January out and Damp January in?

The number of people participating in Dry January was steadily on the rise throughout the past years. But a local liquor store in Groningen sees an increase in sales compared to January last year.

Bas Bergman, the owner of Slijterij liquor store on Vismarkt, Groningen © Veronika Bajnoková

With the tradition of New Year's resolutions, many people are participating in Dry January each year. During the challenge, participants refrain from drinking alcohol for the entire month, often with motivation to improve their health. 

Last year, a report by NOS showed that the popularity of Dry January was increasing as supermarket chains such as Lidl or liquor store chains like Gall & Gall noticed higher demand for non-alcoholic drinks.

Last Man Standing

Gerben, a student living in Groningen, is the only person in his friend group who has decided to participate in Dry January this year. “I was drinking quite a lot, building up last year from the summer until December so I thought it was a good moment to dial it down a little bit,” he says.

He said the motivation behind his decision was to improve his health but also his physical performance: “I have a marathon planned in April so I have to train quite a lot. I think I’m going to continue not drinking until the marathon so that I can train well for it.”

Gerben already participated in Dry January last year and went on without drinking for three months. He also replaced alcohol with non-alcoholic beverages which are not as heavy on his wallet: “Now I drink alcohol-free beers, and those are less expensive than regular beer.”

Slijterij liquor store located on Vismarkt, Groningen © Veronika Bajnoková

However, Bas Bergman, the owner of the local liquor store Slijterij, said he noticed on his customers that “they’re getting bored of the thought of Dry January.” In his opinion, the trend of sober January is dying out: “I think there are more people who drink in January these days.”

Movendi International, a global network for preventing alcohol consumption, warns about the newest trend of Damp January as a competition to Dry January. The concept of Damp January plays with the idea of not going sober for an entire month, but instead just lowering an individual’s consumption of alcohol.

Bergman also told The Groninger that his earnings in January 2024 increased by 10% compared to last year, growing from one hundred thousand to one hundred and ten thousand euros.

Slijterij offers a wide selection of fine wines, special spirits and special beers © Veronika Bajnoková

With the business running as usual, the employees of the Mofongo cocktail bar also said they didn’t notice any decrease in sales or customer traffic during this month. But a waitress who was just serving a bottle of 0% champagne told The Groninger: “This is the impact. Everyone drinks non-alcoholic beverages now.”

The alcohol-free section in Jumbo supermarket © Veronika Bajnoková

Bergman can see the rise in popularity of non-alcoholic beverages, especially beer, but also wine. He also noticed a recent upsurge of cider among his customers, a drink with a low percentage of alcohol. It seems that Dry January might be getting replaced by Damp January with consumers returning to light alcoholic beverages.

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