From booze lockers to fitness tracker freebies, how beverage brands celebrate Dry January
With more consumers ditching booze for at least a month, alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverage brands alike are finding new ways to engage fans.
There are more ways than ever for Dry January participants to enjoy non-alcoholic versions of their favorite beverages / Adobe Stock
One-in-five adults planned to participate in Dry January – a campaign in which drinkers swear off alcohol for the first month of the new year. These were stats from Morning Consult last year. All signs point to greater adoption this year with orders of non-alcoholic wine, beer and spirits jumping 300% in 2022, per Uber Eats.
As the so-called ‘sober-curious’ movement gains traction, brands are finding new ways to speak to consumers’ demand for more zero-ABV beverage products. The trend is taking a variety of forms: chic nootropic-based non-alcoholic cocktail brands like Kin Eupohorics and zero-ABV spirits brands like Seedlip and Ritual Tequila are disrupting the scene. Meanwhile, alcohol mainstays like Heineken are pouring more investment into their non-alcoholic lines (Heineken’s 0.0 beer is now the top-selling zero-alcohol beer in the US, per recent data from IRI).
Here’s what beverage brands – both small and large – are doing to capitalize on the growing hype around Dry January this month.
Athletic Brewing launches ‘Give Dry a Try’ campaign with WHOOP
Athletic Brewing, the leading non-alcoholic craft brewer in the US, teamed up with WHOOP, a wearable health and fitness tracker, for the joint ‘Give Dry a Try’ campaign. Through the effort, the brands are encouraging consumers to sign up for WHOOP for $30 and take greater control over their health and wellbeing. Using WHOOP’s tracking tools, they can access new insights into how Dry January is impacting everything from their sleep cycle to their exercise recovery.
As part of the push, Athletic and WHOOP will track user data to learn more about how alcohol consumption – and lack thereof – affects health and fitness.
Of course, the campaign also offers Athletic the chance to expand its brand awareness and win consumer dollars. “Our ‘Give Dry a Try’ campaign is an opportunity to reach new customers, especially those who might be on the fence about non-alcoholic beer,” says Chris Furnari, the brewer’s communications manager.
Furnari explains that Athletic’s brand message is not one of strict sobriety, but rather of moderation, which can feel more approachable to all kinds of drinkers. “Depending on which research you look at, anywhere from 20% to 35% of people are taking part in Dry January. But 47% of Dry January participants set out to drink less versus abstaining completely,” he says. “This year's campaign is all about encouraging those folks who want to reduce their alcohol consumption, but might find 31 days of abstinence intimidating, to give Athletic a try.”
By signing up as part of the ‘Give Dry a Try’ team, fans will also receive special discounts on Athletic beers and will be entered into a sweepstakes where they can win a yearlong subscription to the the brewer’s monthly beer subscription service Athletic Club as well as a yearlong WHOOP membership. Plus, just for signing up, participants get half-off their first month of a new Athletic Club subscription.
Furnari says Athletic expects to see a 20 to 30% lift in sales this month as a result of Dry January-inspired consumerism.
Tito’s taps Martha Stewart for ‘DIY January’
Tito’s, America’s top-selling vodka brand, kicked off the new year with a cheeky ad campaign fronted by Martha Stewart.
Offering a fun spin on Dry January, Tito’s sees the homemaker extraordinaire embrace ‘DIY January,’ harnessing Tito’s for a variety of chores and cooking around the house – from cleaning dirty surfaces and watering plants to meat tenderizing. All the while, Stewart alludes to her impatience to get through Dry January so she can once again enjoy the taste of Tito’s.
On its website, the brand promotes the ad campaign alongside a tongue-in-cheek disclaimer: “We can’t guarantee the outcome of these DIY uses for Tito’s - they are legally non-binding because this is a joke and we’re a vodka brand.”
WhistlePig Whiskey unveils new non-alcoholic old fashioned
Leaning into the concept of Dry January as an opportunity to focus on health, craft whiskey distiller WhistlePig has partnered with farmer-owned co-op Sunkist Growers. Together, the two brands hope to ensure that, despite a decline in orders for (traditionally orange-garnished) old fashioneds during January, consumers aren’t missing out on opportunities to up their vitamin C intake.
To that end, the brands teamed up to create the limited-edition ready-to-drink Dry Orange Fashioned. The new WhistlePig product is created using 100% rye non-whiskey, barrel-aged maple syrup and Sunkist navel oranges. It promises the full flavor profile of its alcoholic counterpart and 10% of an average consumer’s daily value of vitamin C per serving.
Of course, WhistlePig and Sunkist couldn’t leave non-Dry Januaryers hanging. They’ve also debuted the Wet Orange Fashioned made with the distiller’s PiggyBack rye whiskey.
“This year’s Dry January campaign is all about the orange,” says Eliza McClure, vice-president of marketing and innovation at WhistlePig Whiskey. “We believe everything is better in a barrel, including our 100% rye whiskey, barrel-aged maple and now barrel-aged Sunkist oranges. These three ingredients allow us to own the old fashioned from end-to-end with two new Orange Fashioned cocktail collaborations.”
The initiative was also designed to support farmers and the bartending community – which may see reduced income during January. As McClure explains, “Both the Dry and Wet limited editions support communities close to our hearts: the family growers who make up the Sunkist Citrus cooperative, the bartenders who benefit from 100% of Dry January proceeds, and our fans who we’re giving free barrel-aged oranges to all month long.”
Hop Wtr encourages drinkers to lock up their booze
Hop Wtr, a non-alcoholic sparkling hops beverage reminiscent of beer, last month launched its Hop Lockr – a limited-edition locker that encourages drinkers to keep temptation locked up until February.
Fans who signed up to receive a Hop Lockr before the new year received a real-life locker to store their booze that can’t be opened without a combination provided by Hop Wtr on February 1. As a reward for their commitment, participants were also promised a month-long supply of Hop Wtr brews.
“We know it can be hard to stick with Dry January goals and implement healthier lifestyle habits, especially after a season of holiday indulgence. However, in recent years, we've noticed that more people are looking to participate in Dry January and really want to prioritize a more well-balanced lifestyle,” said Jordan Bass, Hop Wtr co-founder and CEO, in a statement. “The launch of the Hop Lockr is another step in our journey to help our fans continue to live a healthier life without having to sacrifice flavor or fun, and we look forward to crushing Dry January goals alongside our community.”
To drive further engagement, the brand is encouraging fans to share their Dry January experiences on social media. When they tag Hop Wtr on Instagram, they’ll have the chance to win special gear to help get them through the month and stay dry.
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