Dry January, Veganuary, Go Sober… what can a month really do?

 |   |  The Modern Drinker 
Dry January, Veganuary, Go Sober… what can a month really do?

How many people give up alcohol for Dry January? How about Go Sober for October? Has Veganuary stolen a march on them both?

Not that any of the above matters in the slightest, of course. Dry January and Go Sober for October do wonderful work regardless of the crowd they attract, and Veganuary looks like it’s really starting to make a similar difference. However, we love a good statistic as much as the next person, so we thought it’d be interesting to crunch a few numbers and see what’s what.

Is Dry January bigger than Go Sober for October? 


Dry January Fact 1

Yes, undoubtedly. And it’s fairly obvious why. January is a month of change – a time when New Year’s resolutions abound – not least because it quickly follows a period of over-indulgence. According to a study undertaken by Rehab4Alcoholism, Brits increased their alcohol intake by 40% over the Christmas period in 2017. It’s no wonder people are keen to change the way they drink.

So, how do the two events differ in numbers? Well, according to Alcohol Concern (who run the official Dry January events) in 2018, just over 4 million people took part in Dry January. In comparison, Go Sober for October (run by Macmillan Cancer Support) attracted slightly over 68 thousand people. Again, there’s no intention to knock the efforts of Go Sober for October here. Their 68,310 Soberheroes raised £4,298,892, which is a fantastic figure to be able to deliver to charity.

How quickly is Dry January growing?


Dry January Fact 2

Faster than the first Dry January participant ever imagined, we should think! According to legend, Dry January began in 2011 when Emily Robinson decided to quit alcohol for a month to help her train for a marathon. She noticed that one of the side effects of giving up alcohol was that people wanted to know what it was like.

A year later, she did it again, but this time with the aid of Alcohol Change UK. 4,000 other people joined in.

By 2013, the event was an official thing and, 6 months into 2014, Alcohol Concern trademarked the term, “Dry January”.

Scroll forward to last week and a survey by YouGov suggests that 4.1 million people will take part in Dry January, 2019. The same survey a year earlier suggested that 3.1 million would be willing – approximately 35% more than in 2018. And that’s only half the story. It seems that the YouGov survey underestimated actual participation by around a million. Could the same happen again? Is Dry January likely to hit the 5 million mark this time round? Watch this space…

Does Dry January work?


Dry January Fact 3

It depends on what you mean by “work”. If you mean…

  1. Does it save you money? Then the answer is a resounding “yes”. Alcohol Concern say that, in 2018, 88% of participants saved money.
  2. Does it improve your sense of wellbeing? That’s a tough one to quantify, but the organisers say that, in 2018, 71% of Dry January participants say they slept better and 67% had more energy.
  3. Does it help you lose weight? It certainly seems to. 58% of participants in 2018 reported weight loss.

From a scientific point of view, Richard De Visser, an expert in alcohol behavioural change working at the University of Sussex, noticed that 7 out of 10 participants in the Dry January challenge had continued to drink at less risky levels 6 months later. It seems that taking a month off alcohol actually makes a difference.

Where does Veganuary fit into all of this? 


Veganuary Fact 1

Veganuary cropped up on our radar in about 2016, and has since become one of the fastest growing participatory events of its type. Launched in 2013 by Yorkshire couple, Matthew Glover and Jane Land, it has gone from a standing start to 168,500 participants in around five years flat. And that’s just the registered participants. In an IPSOS Mori survey, 10 times that number said they “do Veganuary”.

How many people will participate in Veganuary in 2019? Well, the organisers are hoping for 300,000. And if 10 times that number actually take part… well, you do the maths. It’s BIG.

And does Veganuary work? The stats suggest that there’s a good chance that you’ll stick with veganism having tried it during Veganuary. In 2018, 62% of official participants said they intended to fully embrace veganism. In the States, 51% of chefs say they’ve added vegan options to their menus, while an extraordinary 52% of the UK’s grocery shoppers say they’re interested or actively engaged in pursuing a plant-based diet.

And why are we at Real Kombucha interested in Veganuary, particularly? For us, we see the movement towards veganism as a move towards greater choice. We often talk about The Modern Drinker – healthy hedonists” who like to do as much with life as possible, and recognise the need to make better food and drink choices in order to get things done. The move towards veganism is part and parcel of that changing mindset. Whether you’re trying a plant-based diet for ethical or health reasons, ultimately it’s about having options and celebrating the fact that people are opening up to change.

Good luck to all you Veganuarists out there, and if you’re doing Dry January and you want an entirely vegan, non-alcoholic option then we’ve got your back. Click the pic below…