As 'Dry January' Begins, a Look at What Abstainers Want On-Premise

Almost 70% of past Dry January participants, 64% of regular alcohol drinkers and 46% of those who abstain from alcohol wish bars and restaurants had more – or just any – zero-proof options.

That's according to a new study for BARE/Zero Proof.

Nearly seven in 10 respondents wish social settings were more accommodating to those who don't drink alcohol.  The most uncomfortable places? Bars and house parties.

Only 21% of those who rarely or never drink say they feel left out in social situations.  But 56% of past Dry January participants said they felt left out.  Not surprisingly, those who struggle most to find support in mixed company are regular drinkers who are using Dry January or Dry October to cut back.  And some 60% of these folks say they are uncomfortable ordering soda or substitutes from a bartender or server, 65% say they wish they could order a non-alcoholic beverage that is less obvious to others that they aren't drinking alcohol.

But among those who previously participated in Dry January, 30% say they would order a zero-proof cocktail instead of juice or soda to feel more sophisticated.

More interesting findings:

60% of regular alcohol drinkers say bonds are stronger when both parties drink, but only 17% of those who rarely or never drink alcohol think this.  And 50% of regular drinkers admit they have excluded someone who doesn't drink alcohol from a social setting.

Nearly one-third of past Dry January participants said they were asked how long they intended not to drink alcohol, 24% said their alcohol-drinking friend or family member told them they were "disappointed" they are drinking.

Those who aren't drinking alcohol said they would prefer to order a zero-proof cocktail instead of a soda or juice in order to:

  • Blend in (31%)
  • Feel more sophisticated (30%)
  • To avoid feeling awkward to a bartender or server (28%)
  • Drink something tat tastes better (37%)

Bare produces a zero-proof modern classic gin, bourbon whiskey and reposado-style requila.

Subscribe to Kane's Beverage News Daily

Don’t miss out on the latest issues. Sign up now to get access to the library of members-only issues.