It’s a Dry January – Even for Booze Brands

By: Kaydee Ambas · January 11, 2023 · Reading Time: 3 minutes

Back on the (Band) Wagon

At first glance, the concept of Dry January would seem to clash with the alcohol business. But many such companies are increasingly using the campaign to boost their brand awareness, even as customers abstain from using the products they sell.

For example, a recent commercial released by vodka distillery Tito’s featured Martha Stewart using its product — not by drinking it, but rather in various DIY projects. But for many companies, it’s more than just an advertising gimmick.

Beverage conglomerate Diageo (DEO) has acquired a stake in zero-proof brands Seedlip and Ritual. And Heineken’s (HEINY) alcohol-free 0.0 beer, which represented over a quarter of all US nonalcoholic beer sales as of last October, grew 7.9% in year-over-year sales between September 2021 and September 2022.

Tito’s and Your To-Do List

Since it doesn’t sell any non-alcoholic products, Tito’s participation in Dry January is solely within the advertising realm. Its DIY commercial explains spritzing vodka inside boots keeps them fresh, while adding it to cut flowers keeps them fresher for longer. However, it will be followed by a product launch: a limited edition collection featuring bottle-topper attachments for use while cleaning, along with a “list of tips and tricks” of dry ways to utilize the vodka.

Industry observers argue this represents a strategic shift for major alcohol brands, who are responding to changing drinking habits — as well as a sign that more consumers are embracing Dry January.

Dry Beer (Not the Flavor)

Heineken’s success selling non-alcoholic beer goes well with Dry January, and other beer brands appear to have taken note. Budweiser (BUD) is promoting its non-alcoholic beer this month, while Japanese brewer Asahi is introducing its Asahi Super Dry 0.0% in the UK and Ireland.

Across the board, beer brands are facing facts: beer sales are on the decline. They’re responding by associating themselves with Dry January — and hoping non-alcoholic options can carry revenues forward for more than just one month.

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