What is Dry January? - Dry January Questions Answered

Alcohol-free spirit for Dry January

Every Dry January, people across the UK kick off the year by going alcohol-free for a month. After a December spent drinking mulled wine, spiked eggnog and prosecco, Dry January tends to come as a welcome reprise. So, with a glass of ZEO Botanical Dry in hand, here’s to welcoming in 2021 with the best intentions.

If this is the first you’re hearing about the alcohol-free month, you’d be forgiven for wondering why people do Dry January. Throughout this article we’ll give you the lowdown on Dry January and how you can get involved.

Your definitive guide to Dry January

Dry January first kicked off in 2013 as the brainchild of Alcohol Change UK, a leading UK alcohol charity. Back then, just 4,000 people took part. Over the years it’s become a calendar highlight for those who overindulged over Christmas. So much so that 4 million people took part in 2020. Will you be getting involved in the next Dry January? 

What is Dry January?

Dry January is when people abstain from alcohol for the whole month of January. People take part for many reasons. Some hope to raise money for their chosen charity, others want to kick habits they picked up in December. 

In Britain, the Dry January charity is Alcohol Change UK. Whilst you can enjoy the alcohol-free month unofficially, Alcohol Change UK offers additional support and advice for people who sign up. You can even go dry for charity and begin the new year by raising funds for Alcohol Change UK. 

Live outside of the UK? Not a problem, similar schemes are run in France and Switzerland, but we reckon it’ll expand rapidly. So, even if there isn’t a charity supporting it, why not kick start Dry January in your own country?

What to Drink During Dry January?

If this is your first Dry January, then you may find yourself a little stuck with what to drink. But there’s no need to worry. Just because you aren’t drinking, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy parties, nights out and weekends in the same way. In fact, Dry Jan opens up so many possibilities when it comes to drinking.

In recent years, alcohol-free beers, aperitifs and non-alcoholic spirits have become so much better. So much so that you probably wouldn’t notice the difference (finds own trumpet to blow). After some inspiration? Our The Best Non-Alcoholic Drinks to try During Dry January post will help you make some of our favourite cocktails. All you need is a bottle of ZEO Botanical Dry and a couple of mixers.

It’s absolutely fine to drink non-alcoholic spirits or beers during Dry January. In fact, for many it makes it a much easier switch. Like a mid-week G&T? Swap it out for a Z&T (ZEO & Tonic). Partial to an after-work pint? There’s plenty of realistic alcohol-free options around.


How popular is Dry January?

Ever since it was founded in 2014, Dry January has become even more popular. 4 million people took part in 2020 and 2021 is predicted to be even bigger. In fact, 1 in 5 drinkers are expected to abstain from alcohol for the month. That’s a whopping 6.5 million people.

Does Dry January improve health?

Yes, and in more ways than one. Even giving up alcohol for a month can see improvements in your liver health, skin and weight. Not to mention the positive impact it can have on your mental health.

Research published in the British Medical Journal found that not drinking for a month saw significant health improvements. They saw lower blood pressure and cholesterol, a reduced risk of diabetes and lower levels of cancer proteins in the blood. It’s pretty conclusive evidence that even a month off alcohol can leave a huge impact on your health. 

What are the reasons for during Dry January?

Everyone’s reasons for taking part in Dry January are different. For some, it’s a great opportunity to kick off a lifetime of not drinking. For others, it’s a chance to recover from December’s gluttony.  Just abstaining from alcohol for the month brings people a step closer to cutting down on alcohol long term. So, even if they begin February with a glass of wine, they know they can survive without it too.

Aside from breaking the habit of drinking, people also use Dry Jan to improve their mental health, lose weight and save money. Head over to our Top 5 Reasons to do Dry Jan Journal post to learn more.


Got a question about Dry January that we haven’t answered here? Drop us an email on hello@feelzeo.com and we’ll do our best to help.


Reference: Mehta G, Macdonald S, Cronberg A, et al. Short-term abstinence from alcohol and changes in cardiovascular risk factors, liver function tests and cancer-related growth factors: a prospective observational study. BMJ Open 2018;8:e020673. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2017-020673