How To Boost January Sales

After the Christmas buzz, January is often seen as a bleak month. However, there are many sales opportunities to pursue now more consumers are regularly drinking in the low and no alcohol category as its popularity grows.

Savvy operators will always seek opportunities to bolster trade, especially during notoriously quiet periods. When the first widely promoted alcohol-free month began in 2013, few believed it was here to stay. However, in close to a decade the initiative of abstaining from alcohol in the month of January has continued to gain momentum as UK consumers develop their understanding of balanced diets and healthy lifestyles.

97B143FC-DE89-440A-B2FB-0E46F2B3FBCB 4 5005 cAlongside the promotion of an alcohol-free January, the low and no alcohol category has steadily grown, backed by a cohort of consumers eager for more interesting alcohol-free options. Low and no’s rise has been driven mostly by Gen Z and Y (18-34-yearolds) drinkers, with 40% of this demographic already choosing to drink low and no alcohol alternatives[1].

The brands winning in the category are those that deliver on taste while also meeting consumer demand for moderation. Arguably, those drinking in the category don’t want to feel alienated when consuming an alcohol-free alternative, so products that offer an experience as close to the original will likely see higher consumer take up from drinkers and non-drinkers alike.

On-trade consumers remain format loyal, even within the low and no alcohol category[2]. Draught lager drinkers, for example, would feel less comfortable switching to a bottled alcohol-free alternative[3]. Operators should therefore consider stocking brands like Heineken® 0.0 on draught or with SmartDispense™ Blade, as well as offering it in bottles to ensure broad appeal.

The Heineken® Beer Report showed many consumers across all demographics are incorporating alcohol-free alternatives into their routines to either cut alcohol completely or moderate their drinking. However, 10.4 million UK consumers do class themselves as teetotal, equating to 15% of the population[4].

This provides pubs with a substantial year-round customer base. It also provides an opportunity to utilise and build buzz around the fact consumers tend to eat and drink more healthily during January by adding more low and no products to the bar with a view to making permanent range additions.

Driving interest

Treat alcohol-free alternatives as you would their counterparts to help further normalise them among consumers. For example, promote and launch alcohol-free drinks tastings and masterclasses throughout January, perhaps with a ticket price that includes food or healthy food pairings to tap into the consumers’ usual healthdriven mindset at this time of the year.

There are dozens if not hundreds of low and no options within most drinks categories now. Operators could consider launching an alcohol-free rum tasting event with a Caribbean theme to bring some colour and warmth to consumers during the darker months of the year.

There are also plenty of alcohol-free gin alternatives on the market, providing consumers with the chance to enjoy a gin and tonic tasting with a twist.

Tapping into different occasions

The drinks market is also flush with alcohol-free wine options in red, white, rose and sparkling. Pair dishes with alcohol-free or low-alcohol wines to increase cover revenues throughout January. Even consider hosting an alcohol-free wine tasting evening with cheese and chocolate.

There is also the possibility to appeal to brunch and lunchtime customers who may usually buy a cocktail, glass of wine or pint of lager with their meal.

During January customers may consider skipping this treat if they are avoiding alcohol, but this is a prime opportunity for pubs to hold on to regulars and generate new footfall with alcohol-free alternatives as their customers can still enjoy a glass of wine with their lunch, but without the alcohol.

Finally, operators have an opportunity to continue tapping into rising consumer demand for cocktails[5]. Even during January when more consumers are likely to limit their alcohol intake, low and no alcohol also opens a world of creativity, allowing operators the option to challenge bar staff to come up with and promote a new alcohol-free house cocktail for the month of January.

So, while the month of January may often be a quieter period, there are plenty of opportunities to keep current customers visiting the pub throughout the month as well as attracting new, potentially younger, drinkers and diners.

Make the most of January sales

  • Stock new and exciting alcohol-free alternatives from well-known brands.
  • Create events and tasting evenings throughout the month to spark interest.
  • Treat low and no alcohol drinks the same as any other beverage by positioning them alongside alcoholic versions on bars and menus.
  • Offer low and no alcohol with meals as pairings, such as beer and wine.



[1] CGA No/Low Report 2021 [2] CGA No/Low Report 2021 [3] CGA No/Low Report 2021 [4] CGA No/Low Report 2021 [5] CGA OPMS to 26.02.22
Category: Features, News
Tags: Star Pubs and Bars