While most people see the New Year as a chance to get their life on track, January and February can be testing times for pub and bar owners.
So-called ‘Dry January’ has become increasingly popular over the years as the British people look to press the reset button after an indulgent Christmas break. January and February are already consistently quiet months for business owners which means an alcohol-free month poses a real risk to local businesses.
Join us as we explore why Dry January is so popular and how your business can adapt to changing consumer habits to kickstart the New Year.
What is Dry January?
Many people see January as an opportunity to start a clean slate and cleanse the body of all the 'bad stuff'.
Run by Alcohol Change UK, Dry January involves millions of people giving up drinking for the whole month of January. With over 4.2 million Brits planning to take part in 2020, January is set to be the toughest month of the year for bars and pubs.
As Brits look to take control of their drinking or "reset their relationship with alcohol", the January squeeze most bars feel often continues into February before slowly picking up speed in March.
Whether it’s to overcome addiction or save some cash, everyone has their own motivations behind swapping the vodka for water.
What Does an Alchohol-Free January Mean for Your Business?
You don’t need an economist to tell you that with fewer people drinking in January, sales for pubs and bars will drop.
If you’re in the beverage industry, Dry January is an opportunity to explore new revenue streams and offer your customers something beyond beer and wine.
Pubs and bars are increasingly featuring alcohol-free options on their menus to keep customers coming through their doors. Interestingly, alcohol consumption among UK adults is at an eighteen-year low, with 25% of young adults abstaining completely.
One Year No Beer is a UK association with a mission to change the public’s relationship with alcohol. With over 50,000 members in the first five years, Dry January is thought to be the start of a much bigger shift in drinking habits.
An Alchohol-Free Future
While some bars may see January as a temporary slow in cash flow, forward-thinking businesses are preparing for an alcohol-free future.
For example, Brewdog recently launched the world’s first alcohol-free bar in London. Brewdog AF Bar seeks to promote the brand’s alcohol-free beer to a new audience of health-conscious consumers.
Similarly, the world’s biggest brewer, AB InBev, has ambitious plans to boost sales of low and alcohol-free beers from 8% in 2017 to 20% by 2025.
The 'Low & No' Movement
Did you know that 20% of British consumers have tried a low or alcohol-free beer, wine or spirit in the past six months?
As part of the so-called ‘low and no’ movement, the beverage industry is turning towards innovative products and smart marketing tactics to capture this growing market. 72% of pub owners view the growth of ‘low and no’ consumers as an opportunity to upsell affordable products into more premium drinks categories.
While it’s easy to see Dry January as an unstoppable force for pub and bar owners, the key to overcoming any challenge is to think laterally and look for alternative solutions.
Alcohol-free festivals like Buddhafield are on a mission to prove that alcohol doesn’t necessarily need to be on the menu to let your hair down and have some fun.
While most festivals are awash with beer and cider, Buddhafield is all about celebrating community and connection through song, dance, yoga and meditation.
Similarly, charitable initiatives like Go Sober for October are encouraging us to put our beer money to better use by moving away from alcohol consumption and promoting positive change.
How to Manage Cash Flow Problems
So, as the beverage industry prepares to offer more alcohol-free options, what can your business do in the short-term to avoid a dip in cash flow?
If you’re struggling to make ends meet, there are some fast and affordable financing options to keep business rolling.
Whether you’re looking to capitalise on upcoming sports events or launch a 'low and no' range of products, securing some extra cash can help you start 2020 on the right foot.
Instead of resorting to costly payday loans, credit cards or overdrafts, a merchant cash advance offers an affordable solution.
If your business accepts credit and debit card payments, 365 Business Finance allows you to borrow cash and pay back little by little. Get your hands on between £5,000 and £200,000 to give your business the boost it needs.
The best bit? If you’re struggling with slow sales during Dry January, you only pay us back when your customers pay you.
Kickstart 2020 with 365 Business Finance
Don’t let your business suffer from changing customer behaviour. It’s time to grab 2020 by the scruff of the neck and fuel your business with the cash it needs to smash your targets.
Enjoy fast and affordable cash with 365 Business Finance to maintain steady cash flow and invest in scaling your business to new heights.
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