How pub owners can make the most of dry January

Megan Lipscombe

Megan Lipscombe

Marketing Lead

Without putting a dampener on the Christmas festivities, it’s not to be ignored that the new year is fast approaching and with that comes dry January. Rather than accepting that this means a quieter time for pub owners, why not use dry January to your advantage? Put plans in place to incentivise those taking part to complete the alcohol free stint, continue visiting your pub and celebrate with those who make it to the end.

On that note, here are 5 top tips on how pub owners can make a success of dry January.

Incentivise those taking part

Dry January is a challenge for most, so take the opportunity to encourage those taking part to keep it up. For example, you could introduce a loyalty scheme where you issue a stamp for every alcohol free drink bought. And at the end of the month, those who have collected 6 stamps receive a free drink of their choice. Not only does this reward those participating in dry January, it gives them a reason to visit your pub both during and after January.

Support the trend

Why not support those giving up alcohol for January by donating a percentage of your drink profits to charity? Not only does this look great for your corporate social responsibilities, it will also be a draw for people who want to get the very best from their alcohol free month.

Offer more alcohol free alternatives

Alcohol free alternatives are generally growing in popularity in the UK, and the trend isn’t just limited to January. In February last year sales of alcohol free beer were up 28% compared to the previous period and sales of alcohol free spirits were up by a whopping 407%.  If it isn’t something you have addressed already, then take dry January as an opportunity to get involved with the initiative. Don’t just do the bare minimum; make a thing of alcohol free. Think about getting an alcohol free beer on tap, introducing alcohol free spirits and getting creative with alcohol free cocktails. Make low and no alcohol part of your wider strategy.

Post dry January event

Reward those who did (and didn’t) take part with an event at the end of the month. Whether or not your customers have given up drinking for January, why not celebrate it coming to an end. Be it a music night, pub quiz, beer festival or comedy night; decide what will appeal to your customers and host an event to mark the end of dry January. That way, when they start drinking again, they’ll have even more reason to choose your pub over someone else’s.

Make more of your food offering

Who says bottomless brunch needs to be all about alcohol? Whether you already offer a bottomless deal or it would be a new addition; why not introduce alternative bottomless deals in January? This could be the introduction of an unlimited food deal or a bottomless soft drinks option. Providing an alternative for the non drinkers will mean they are more likely to encourage their friends and family who are drinking to visit your pub over a competitors during January.

Crucially, whatever you decide to do it’s important to consider how this will influence demand and therefore the number of staff you will need working and when. Be sure to plan any promotional or marketing activity in advance and ensure your staff schedules are inline with any fluctuating demand.

For more information on how Rotaready can help you build your staff schedules to meet demand every day of the year, email us at or drop us a message via the live chat!

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