Published on December 8th, 2015 | by Alastair Gilmour


Everyone loves a trier

The campaign by health groups and lobbyists targeting people to abstain from alcohol during January has been gathering pace over the past two or three years. What was a more of a voluntary decision to “dry out” after the festive excesses has now wormed its way into society almost like a new law sponsored by Alcohol Concern.

While we’re well aware of the damage that can be done by consuming vast amounts of alcohol, a month off beer wines and spirits has been proven to be of no long-term benefit whatsoever.

The key to this – as always – is moderation and responsibility. Pubs can barely survive the quiet winter months as it is, let alone come up against a wall of sobriety, so let’s sign up to a couple of schemes where we can keep the flag flying without getting out of control.

At risk of inviting the comment “he would say that”, we asked Rob Theakston, managing director of Black Sheep Brewery, what he thought about Dry January schemes. Rob says: “Try January is a fantastic initiative to introduce quality beer to new drinkers. There has never been a greater choice of ales available for people to try with lots of different flavours, ingredients and styles appealing to more and more people. Let’s hope Try January will encourage drinkers to visit the pub more often.

“Brewers new and old are innovating and we are seeing a growth in the number of pubs and bars which focus on craft ales, so the opportunity is there for us to use Try January to kick off 2016 as we mean to go on.”

With that endorsement ringing in our ears, we’re also inviting readers to take part in #tryanuary (, a Twitter-based campaign developed for the good of the trade – and not run for profit. It features a bottled beer as “beer of the day” for every day throughout January, with a competition run to win all 31 beers, so it’s basically a month of discovering, sharing and enjoying beer together – beers that you can also drink in the pub.

Running alongside that is Try January, which aims to harness the New Year resolution mindset during an otherwise dark month and transform it into something positive and fun. Pubs can inspire customers by introducing exciting Dry January options.

We applaud the virtue of people changing something about themselves for the better but this has resulted in many of them staying indoors rather than putting themselves in social situations – which are actually beneficial, particularly to mental health, depression and wellbeing.

So, try something new in January; visit a different pub; sample an unfamiliar style of beer; treat yourself to a cocktail, go out for lunch, or discover the world of wine. Try January, it’s all there for you in the pub.

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Alastair Gilmour

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