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Celtic Marches – How low can you go?

As the free from movement seems to have firmly embedded itself into the mainstream drinks industry, Dry Drinker finds out about the producer of Holly GoLightly 0.5% Low Alcohol Cider.

You might be forgiven for not immediately recognising the brand name as it would seem that Celtic Marches had been one of Herefordshire’s best kept secrets. Nestled in a quiet corner of Herefordshire, a county renowned for its cider production, this single-estate apple cider producer has been milling away peacefully for over 100 years.

Wyer Croft is home to Celtic Marches. With 200 acres of cider apple orchards, developed over seven generations, they are a self-sustaining craft cider firm producing up to 3 million litres a year. The luscious lined orchards are filled with eight cider tree varieties. Each chosen for their growth and taste profiles. These are blended to create their international award-winning ciders.

This rare position is a result of over 100 years and numerous generations that have dedicated themselves to the orchards and hop fields. This allows for full control over cider production from tree to glass. Production miles are low, with both the growth and production based on the family farm. Celtic Marches’ sister company, Marches Bottling and Packaging is less than 5 miles away, maintaining their aim to reduce the production impact on the environment.

The bold, strong female branding stands out from the norm and is reflective of the women behind this slick operation. With large scale production abilities, the female majority team has been selected by Director, Susan Vaughan for their skills, passion for quality and consistent drive for a premium craft cider. Shaking off the traditional approach to cider branding, each of the core range has a woman’s name, all with a different character and taste. The female strength of the company and it’s branding is a far cry from what the cider industry has been used to.

Offering a mix of packaging, from bottles to BIBs, kegs to cans; the strong range of ciders caters for a diverse market. Their ability to follow market trends is not compromising and maintaining traditional values and respect for our provenance will always be core.

So why the release of a low alcohol cider?

The craft cider market and the growth of low and no alcohol options looks set to continue. Figures from Dry January participation show a clear trend that the UK population drinking habits are changing. With around 4000 participants in 2013, the increase to over 4 million in 2018 was incredible.

Our consumer habits have changed swiftly over the last decade. Younger generations are more educated in nutrition and a healthier lifestyle. The percentage of 16-24 year old non drinkers has increased, binge drinking figures have fallen and those choosing to live an alcohol-free life have risen. All of these trends indicate a long term social change.

Consumers are seeking high quality alternative drink options. Support for local produce is rising and local economies are boosted as we are more willing to pay a higher price for a premium product, often in smaller volumes and lower ABVs. We are more knowledgeable on the creation of the product from the initial ingredients, the processing, right down to the brand’s ethos. We look beyond the impulse purchase and appreciate the provenance of produce. Enlightened by the knowledge, we are opting away from the cheap concentrate white ciders and reaching for a natural, authentic option. Craft does not exclude no and low alcohol options. When time, care and skill are combined, the result can be equal to the higher ABV products.

Bigger brands have already tapped into the craft market, many buying up smaller producers to front a craft campaign. They are no longer resting on their laurels of their commercial presence. Consumers are demanding more natural products, less processed drinks and better qualities, often achieved by smaller batch production. With the low and no alcohol growth set to continue steadily, there will be a corresponding increase in offerings from big alcohol brands to try and fill the market.

Celtic Marches are one of the UK’s largest independent craft cider producers. Having launched Holly GoLightly successfully this year, they have extended the range to include a 330ml can. It is a 0.5% ABV cider, made using cider apples from their Herefordshire Farm. Their cider ticks all the current market trends and consumer desires; low alcohol, sustainable, traceability, gluten free, vegan whilst still retaining quality. As a self-sustaining single estate cider producer with 200 acres of cider apple orchards, they have the ability to move effortlessly with the changing market trends. The latest addition of a low alcohol cider in a can will only firm their standing in the low and no alcohol market.

Celtic Marches full range is gluten free and suitable for vegans.

3 things I learnt from a dry January

 

Dry Drinker Dry January Blog 3 things I learnt from Dry January
Ready for Dry January 2019 ?

 

Thinking about doing Dry January 2019? Maybe I can help you decide. I ‘did’ Dry January 2018 and drank a lot less booze this year as a result. Averaged out, my drinking days went from 4 times a week to 1 or 2. So, I spent about £500 less on drinking at home. (That’s haircuts for the year paid for, or maybe a trip away).

Dry January is the UK’s one-month booze-free challenge. Sign up. Save money. Feel great and reset your relationship with alcohol. Or you can take on Dryathlon and quit the booze to raise money for Cancer Research UK.

What I learnt 1: you don’t need to drink to survive social events

That it was fine for me not to drink at social events. I’m an introvert nervous drinker who can get accidentally sozzled in the process of finding the courage to talk to people. A few events during Dry January made me realise that I felt better and had more to say when I wasn’t drinking – I wasn’t scared of ‘overdoing it’ and getting drunk.

If going out, I planned ahead to see what alcohol free options were available. Anywhere that sells cocktails should make you an alcohol free version, even if it isn’t on the menu.

I’d get alcohol free supplies in from Dry Drinker to drink at home and to take to friends or family parties or dinners.

‘I can’t have fun without booze’ is a myth. More than 10 million adults in the UK manage it.

Benefits of alcohol free drinks

They help you to:

  • remember conversations and people
  • go home when you’ve had enough
  • make conscious decisions about what you spend and eat
  • stay safe
  • avoid the beer (or wine) goggles (and the toe-curling consequences)
  • get up in the morning feeling human
  • stick to fitness goals

And they taste nice! See below

Of course, alcohol free means you get don’t get inebriated, drunk, trollied, tipsy, wrecked, wasted, p*ssed-up, hammered. That’s the main difference: alcohol free doesn’t affect how your brain works. You don’t get hangovers, forget what happened in every episode of your Scandi noir drama, burst into tears, feel sick, be sick, fall over, stuff your face with junk food, tell everyone you love them, start arguments, embarrass the hell out of your kids, talk gibberish and spend a fortune you haven’t got. And no walk of shame.

What I learnt 2: the health stuff

I must mention health. The less I drink, the more healthy I feel. Better skin, more sleep, and all the bits we can’t see so try to forget about. My dad drank too much alcohol. He couldn’t stop, struggled to moderate and died of mouth cancer aged 52. That’s why I think about it. Alcohol harms and lots of us know that. It causes physical and emotional pain. There is lots of info online: DrinkAwareNHS, and Alcohol Change UK* — the charity behind Dry January — are good places to start. Check out the fact sheets for easy-read evidence to help you decide about Dry January.

What I learnt 3: alcohol free beers ARE a great alternative

‘Toy beer’ (as it’s known at home) is darn tasty. I’m not keen on sweet fizzy drinks or fruit juice, so alcohol free beers offer a satisfying edge of bitterness, complexity, and none of that artificial sweetener ‘finish’. And they are low calorie – often coming in at less than 50 cals per drink.

Alcohol free beer is not all ‘rubbish’. That would suggest it’s all piped from the same big vat, which obviously it isn’t.

Though you might be used to seeing two or three brands of lager in supermarkets, the real choice is huge (if you shop at Dry Drinker):

The process and the ingredients are the same as the full-strength versions: the only thing that is different is the alcohol.

And that’s before we get started on the wines – red, white and rosésparkling wines, distilled alcohol free spirits, and mocktails. Oh, and cider too. Again, there’s a huge range if you know where to shop, all made with dedication and inspiration.

How I know this

I write the words for Dry Drinker and so I have checked the many and varied background stories for every product they stock.

One thing in common? Brewers, vintners, distillers and drinks entrepreneurs large and small, want to make drinks that you will enjoy, which will bring pleasure to your meals, occasions and simple relaxation.  They are aiming for gold medals in competition against full-strength competitors, not second best.

And take it from some Dry Drinker customers who left 5-star comments on Trusted Shops this month and last month:

 

  • ‘Took the recommendation from DryDrinker and ordered a case of the No1 German beer. This is the best I have tasted plus the order and delivery were executed excellently.
  • ‘Quick and efficient. Unrivalled variety of beers’
  • ‘A great selection of beers. I’m enjoying the alcohol free Cuba Libra & saving the Fizz til closer to Christmas’
  • ‘Loved the Botonique – distinct aroma, lovely sparkling wine’
  • ‘On all counts – can’t be faulted. Brilliant service, brilliant product … Whole new world.’
  • ‘Fabulous experience … when you taste them they are worth every penny. No more feeling left out standing at your party with a glass of water. The drinks are adult and sophisticated and the selection is so broad that there is something for everyone.’

Good luck with your Dry January or Dryathlon 2019! Give it a go. What have you got to lose?

Get ready: you can pre-register now. And why not stock up with Dry Drinker at the same time? It’s the UK’s largest independent alcohol free specialist.

*Alcohol Change is the new charity formed by the merger of Alcohol Concern and Alcohol Research UK. I like their funky new website and their values: Truthful, Compassionate and Ambitious for change).

The Dry Drinker Awards 2018

Dry Drinker Ltd is proud to announce that it will be running, what we believe is, the first ever beer judging in the UK solely for drinks with an ABV of 0.5% or lower. This innovatory event is taking place on 29th November 2018.

We now stock over 100 different beers and lagers and we are often asked for recommendations. To help, we have selected our best-selling customer favourites and some of our new to market discoveries for judging by an independent panel of brewers and industry experts. The Dry Drinker Cheers Awards have 50 drinks in 7 judging categories.

Our panel includes:

  • Representatives from Castle Rock Brewery, the multiple award-winning brewery and former champion Beer of Britain brewer,
  • Representatives of Everard’s Brewery, a Publican Awards Winner
  • The former Director of Brewing and Brands at a major UK Brewery
  • One of the few female qualified Beer Sommeliers in the UK
  • A representative of the Parliamentary Beer Club
  • A Brewery owner
  • The retired Head of Quality Assurance at one of the UK’s biggest breweries

We are really looking forward to this exciting, prestigious event and will keep you posted on the winners. Keep your eyes out for our Twitter, Instagram and Facebook pages for more news!

Dry Drinker gets the story behind Outfox

Dry Drinker’s Stuart Elkington meets Jess Hook, the woman behind stunning alcohol free Outfox wines.

Can you tell us your story?

I’ve always been interested in the drinks market, especially wine. I love the social element of drinking plus all the rituals – pouring a glass of wine after a long day at work, sharing a bottle, having a glass while cooking – but quite often I don’t want the alcohol.

This started my journey trying to find something that could replace all the elements I love about drinking, but without the alcohol.

I had to get fit quick and so cut all alcohol for 6 months while training

During this time, I got a place in the Marathon des Sables (a foot race across the Sahara). Not being a runner (at all!) I had to get fit quick and so cut all alcohol for 6 months while training.

This time showed just how much of my social life was centred around meeting friends in bars and just how rubbish the drinks options were (plus how uncomfortable others can be around you when you’re not drinking.)

I’m really proud of the products

It really cemented it for me: better options should be readily available.

It’s been more than 2 and a half years developing Outfox and getting it to market but I’m really proud of the products. And I’ve got so many ideas for the next ones coming through!

What is your company’s vision?

I created Outfox to help make dry drinking better. Drinks that taste great, and that don’t feel like the soft option. It was very important to me that while the drinks weren’t sweet and didn’t have lots of sugar or calories, they kept the ingrained rituals of drinking.

Hopefully we can help change the way people view drinking

Our ambition for the brand is to have products in multiple categories widely available both across trade and retail. Hopefully we can help change the way people view drinking, and their opinions on alcohol free options!

Why is it important to have non alcoholic drinks like Outfox on offer?

20% of people in the UK don’t drink and of those that do, more than half are trying to reduce their consumption.

So, attitudes around drinking are changing. People want to stop or regulate their drinking for lots of reasons – there’s been lots in the news about the effects of alcohol, and I think we’re going to see more news over the coming years.

We want the associated emotional benefits of drinking

But for a lot of people, this decision to moderate is really difficult because drinking is ingrained in their lives. A glass of champagne to celebrate, beers with the game, sharing a bottle of wine with friends to catch up … we want the associated emotional benefits. In these situations, a diet cola or glass of water feels a long way from what we’re after.

Outfox is a credible substitute to that glass of wine

With Outfox, it was important to me that we made drinks that could replicate these rituals and keep some of the positive elements of drinking. Outfox is a credible substitute to that glass of wine, be it when you’re not drinking at all or trying to reduce the amount you’re drinking that night.


What can our customers expect from Outfox?

Our drinks are always created with 3 core principles:

  • Always under 0.5% ABV (‘alcohol free’ – our first products are less than 0.1% ABV, so are similar to a kombucha or orange juice)
  • Always low in calories and sugar (with quarter the calories of wine and half the sugar of tonic)
  • Never feel like the soft option

Your motto for life?

Fortune favours the brave

Quick fire round

  • Favourite food? … Sushi
  • Last holiday destination? … Las Vegas
  • Last book?… Anything that promises to tell me how to run a business!!
  • Last film? … Beast – not light watching!
  • Cats or dogs?… Dogs – I have 2 spaniels that come into the office every day
  • Curry or fish and chips?… Can I have both?
  • Wine or beer?… Wine

You have a magic power for one day – what would it be and why?

To create more hours in a day so I can get more done!

Where will you be in 5 year’s time?

Still running around like a crazy person but hopefully with Outfox having moved into multiple categories and selling internationally.

Enjoy Outfox

Buy Outfox White Sauvignon 0.5% ABV and Outfox Sauvignon Rosé from Dry Drinker.

Use Dry Drinker’s sidekicks to Go Sober for October

Go Sober for October bottle top logo Dry Drinker

Sign up to Go Sober for October

 

You want to Go Sober this October and help Macmillan make a real difference to the lives of people facing cancer.

And maybe you’re visiting Dry Drinker to get help with this awesome adventure? You want to be a Soberhero but the thought of 31 days of #herbal tea #sparkling water #fruit juice seems a bit …. scary?

Well, Dry Drinker has loads of alcohol free sidekicks to help you raise money for Macmillan Cancer.

Have a plan

Breaking a regular habit like social drinking for a month is not easy for most people – it can be surprisingly tricky! But it IS possible and there are ways to help yourself succeed. Planning what to drink instead of your usual alcoholic tipple and having it ready to pour is a great way to tackle cravings.

At Dry Drinker we’re experts at finding alcohol free drinks that offer grown-up taste, real flavour and the complexity you’d want from an alcoholic drink. We taste test everything before it goes in the UK’s most trusted alcohol free store.

Of course, it won’t be the ‘same’ as an alcoholic drink – umm, there isn’t any alcohol and you won’t get tipsy – but you will be amazed at how satisfying and tasty alcohol free can be.

Find your favourites

Dry Drinker offers a huge choice. Carefully sourced. Safely delivered. No one needs to be left out when it comes to non alcoholic drinks.

There are alcohol free craft beers, wheat beers, stouts and porters from some very clever brewers in the UK and Europe. And loads of superb alcohol free lagers. All made with just water, hops, malt and yeast. Give yourself a treat and order the Go Sober for October box

If you love to raise a toast and celebrate, be assured that alcohol free bubbles are not just fizzy grape juice. Alcohol-free wine making is a serious business, not an afterthought, for winemakers like Torres, Vintense and Ariel. They use the best grapes, ideal growing conditions and modern processes to craft Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah Rosé, Merlot, Chardonnay, ready for your tasting notes!

Or sit back with ice, a slice, and one of the growing number of distilled botanicals on the alcohol free market. They’re very low, or no, calorie too.

How Go Sober for October helps you

  • save money
  • increase energy levels
  • sleep better
  • wake up without hangovers
  • look and feel brighter
  • have a clearer view of how much you drink, how often and why

And you can raise money to support people facing cancer. You superhero.

How Go Sober for October helps others

With your help Macmillian can be there for even more people from the moment of their cancer diagnosis, to give practical, emotional and genuinely personal support through cancer, from help with money worries to be there when they need to talk.

Services include Macmillan nurses, social workers and family teams, grants to help people pay for transport to hospital, phone service to help people claim the benefits they are entitled to.

See what your fundraising can do

 

Top tips for staying sober

  • Find someone to do it with you. You’re stronger when you’re in a gang.
  • Tell everyone, everywhere you’re doing it. Make yourself accountable.
  • Focus on what you can achieve for other people. Your efforts will help Macmillan Cancer make a massive difference to people living with cancer. That’s a great thing to do.
  • Focus on what you are doing for yourself, and how good you will feel when you make 31 days. You deserve to look after yourself and feel good about yourself.
  • Ignore negative comments. Are they jealous? Who knows, who cares! You’re are Going Sober for October because you want to. Full stop.
  • Get your alcohol free alternatives lined up!

Where to start

Important Note

Go Sober for October is a fundraising campaign aimed at challenging social drinkers to change their habits for a month and make some healthy lifestyle changes. We advise heavy drinkers or people dependent on alcohol to speak with their GP before signing up to Go Sober.

Stop Father’s Day gift panic with Dry Drinker

Father’s Day is Sunday 17 June

Father’s Day: it’ll be here before you know it!

So, what’s your gift for Dad going to be? Comedy slippers, ‘man’ apron, retro beard kit or ‘I love ewe Dad’ woolly socks?

Ok, it’s tricky. Dads (men in general) can be hard to buy for. They know what they want, and they want to buy it for themselves.

Booze is pushed as a default Father’s Day gift option. (Think cards with frothing tankards of beer, along with the golf clubs, cars and football.) ‘That’ll do’ you think. ‘Whatever he thinks of it, he’ll drink it …’

Alcohol not an option

Well, the real ale collection, Port in a wooden box, or whiskey miniatures collection might be off the list for your dad. There’s loads of reasons why he’s a Dry Drinker, or wants to be:

  • Perhaps alcohol doesn’t fit with medication he’s currently taking, or it makes his health condition feel worse.

 

  • Maybe (like Dry Drinker boss Stuart) he doesn’t want to be ‘fat and 40’ and has cut out alcohol to lose weight.

 

  • Or he’s being super self-disciplined training for an event – and deserves a treat

 

  • He might want to be alcohol free, because he doesn’t enjoy how it makes him feel. He could be a bit fed up with boozy gifts. Just doesn’t get round to saying it.

 

Exclusive gift case

You could send Dad some alcohol free drinking pleasure with the Dry Drinker Father’s Day Gift Case, for £17.99.

He gets:

 

  • 6 cans of Innis and None, a delicious citrus pale ale from Scottish brewers Innis & Gunn. Big hop bitterness, balanced with a touch of sweetness and the added goodness of ginseng and vitamin C.

 

  • 6 bottles of St Peter’s Without Gold, a golden craft beer from St Peter’s Brewery. It appeals to keen ale drinkers who love a good, full-bodied golden ale and lager drinkers looking for a delicious alcohol free beer.

 

All delivered to his home in a nice, sturdy box.

Your message to Dad

And you can also write a message to your Dad when you order. This will be printed and placed in his beer box. (Optional. With Father’s Day Gift Case only).

Gift certificates

And why not consider Dry Drinker Gift Certificates, starting at £25.

Let your Dad choose the non alcoholic treat they want from the huge Dry Drinker range of alcohol-free beers – the UK’s largest – and ciders, wine and spirits.

They don’t have to spend the Gift Certificate all at once.

Thanks Dad

A grandad or a new dad, the Dad you’re buying for deserves a thoughtful thank you – and he deserves alcohol free drinks that offer grown-up tastes, made with the same care, skill and ingredients as alcoholic beers, wines and spirits.

I’m sure you can find a Father’s Day themed bottle opener somewhere …

unsplash-logo Photo by Annie Spratt

Double award win for Duchess Alcohol Free Gin and Tonic

Dry Drinker is delighted for The Duchess Alcohol Free Gin & Tonic. This elegant alternative to alcohol has won two coveted awards at the Oscars of the soft drinks industry. 

It was named Best Adult Drink and Best New Drink Concept at the Zenith Innobev Awards*, beating strong international competition.

Like Dry Drinker, the judges must have loved the tonic carefully infused with botanical extracts – orange peel, all spice, star anise, clove, cardamom – blended with re-distilled juniper berries.

Independent success

And The Duchess is barely a year old. Founders Johannes le Roux and Inus Smuts were thrilled by their win, Johannes saying: ‘We are so pleased that, shortly after a year of launching, The Duchess is already surpassing our expectations.’

Dry Drinker founder Stuart Elkington said: ‘Well done Duchess! This is deserved recognition of a drink that I knew I had to stock as soon as I’d tasted it. And it’s great to see a small independent business win over larger more established brands.’

Big Drop in final

Dry Drinker likes to back – and stock – winners, and so they’re also excited about the success of Big Drop.

Big Drop – the UK’s first brewing company to exclusively make <0.5% ABV beer, and stocked by Dry Drinker – has been shortlisted in the BBC Food & Farming Awards 2018. It’s 1 of 3 finalists in the Best Drinks Producer category and the only one that produces alcohol free drinks.

Big Drop are on a winning streak – Big Drop Pale Ale was Style Winner in the World Beer Awards 2017, while its Stout won Silver in the same awards and Gold in the International Beer Challenge.

How to nominate Big Drop in the Food and Farming Awards

*Zenith Innobev Awards

The awards:

  • are organised by global food and drink experts Zenith

  • judge creativity, innovation, marketing and sustainability
  • attracted more than 100 entries in 15 categories
  • were held at the 14th Global Soft Drinks Congress (yes, there is such a thing) held in Prague

Alcohol Free and Low Alcohol Wine Taster Packs

Tempted to try a collection of alcohol free sparkling wines and low alcohol wines? Stocking up for a special occasion or looking for a baby shower gift?

Choose from a trio of sparkling rosés, a red, white and rosé wine mix, Prosecco, and our Premium sparkling white collection.

You certainly don’t need alcohol to find fizz that bubbles with taste and sophistication.  Be it Prosecco, brut, blanc or rosé, it’s all about drinking pleasure when you buy from Dry Drinker. Only wines that we’ve tasted and enjoyed make it into the shop. We’d recommend them to our friends.

Go on, get the party started!

  • Alcohol Free Torres Mixed Wine Collection 0.0% – 3 x 750ml

    £26.99
    Add to basket
  • Alcohol Free Mixed Wine Taster Pack – 3 x 750ml

    £23.99
    Add to basket
  • Premium Alcohol Free Sparkling Wine Collection: 3 x 750ml

    £31.49
    Add to basket
  • Alcohol Free Wine Six Pack – 6 x 750ml

    £46.99
    Add to basket
  • Bubble Taster Pack: Alcohol Free Prosecco, Sparkling Rose & Sparkling Brut 3x 750ml

    £20.99
    Add to basket
  • Party Poppers Mixed Fizz Sparkling Case 6 x 750ml

    £55.99
    Add to basket
  • Low Alcohol Sparkling Alcohol Free Rosé Collection: 3 x 750ml 0.5%

    £25.99
    Add to basket
  • Big Celebration Sparkling Alcohol Free Taster Pack 6 x 750ml

    £47.99
    Add to basket

Aperitif

Of course you deserve more than fizzy water when everyone else is toasting with Champagne. Alcohol free sparkling wine makes you part of the party, while staying alcohol free.

Dedicated producers

And be assured, we source from producers dedicated to making alcohol free wine to enjoy in its own right. Traditional methods are paired with new technology to offer a great drinking experience. You deserve the best.

Scavi & Ray

Scavi & Ray produce an award-winning Prosecco and use the same Glera grape in their aromatic non alcoholic version

MRG

Wine house MRG has worked with Champagne expert Richard Juhlin to create two premium sparkling wines. It’s Morouj brand also offers a sparkling white and sparkling rose.

Torres

Torres non alcoholic wines, at 0.05% ABV, will keep everyone happy at the dinner table. This is a family-run business with more than 150 years winemaking experience, blending tradition with innovation to produce quality wines across the globe.

Bees Knees

Bees Knees Alcohol Free sparkling wine and sparkling rosé are a finely balanced combination of sparkling grape juice and premium tea infusion. And all with lots of lovely bubbles.

  • Alcohol Free Torres Mixed Wine Collection 0.0% – 3 x 750ml

    £26.99
    Add to basket
  • Alcohol Free Mixed Wine Taster Pack – 3 x 750ml

    £23.99
    Add to basket
  • Premium Alcohol Free Sparkling Wine Collection: 3 x 750ml

    £31.49
    Add to basket
  • Alcohol Free Wine Six Pack – 6 x 750ml

    £46.99
    Add to basket
  • Bubble Taster Pack: Alcohol Free Prosecco, Sparkling Rose & Sparkling Brut 3x 750ml

    £20.99
    Add to basket
  • Party Poppers Mixed Fizz Sparkling Case 6 x 750ml

    £55.99
    Add to basket
  • Low Alcohol Sparkling Alcohol Free Rosé Collection: 3 x 750ml 0.5%

    £25.99
    Add to basket
  • Big Celebration Sparkling Alcohol Free Taster Pack 6 x 750ml

    £47.99
    Add to basket

Dry January: Help, I miss my favourite drinks!

Dry January might be making you realise you don’t crave ‘alcohol’ – you crave your favourite drinks. They might suit your mood, time of day, or the occasion. When water or soft drinks won’t cut it, don’t worry. As Dry January’s official online partner, Dry Drinker has got seven alcohol-free options to fit your fancies and help you stick with Dry January, whatever the occasion.

1) CRAVING CRAFT?

Hoppy? Malty? Citrus notes? You enjoy savouring interesting, complex brews. And yes, you can get them alcohol-free, thanks to clever craft brewers in the UK and Europe. Some, like inventive UK entrepreneurs at Nirvana and Big Drop only brew alcohol-free, and each have four great beers to choose from. Others have added to their range – like St Peter’s Brewery with the malty joy of St Peters Without, Without Gold, and Without Organic, and BrewDog with its super-hopped Nanny State. Get exploring!

2) WISHING FOR WHEAT BEER?

You love the unique refreshment of a chilled wheat beer. Well, smile, because Weisse really works alcohol-free. Especially if you drink it ice cold and let it breathe for a minute or two. Mmm. Traditional German wheat beer breweries, such as Erdinger, Paulaner, Maisel’s and Schneider, have used masses of brewing experience to add alcohol-free to their ranges. And forget energy drinks – alcohol-free wheat beer is the ideal low-calorie isotonic after exercise.

3) LUSTING AFTER LAGER?

You like to relax with a lighter lager. There are many more alcohol-free brands out there than you might see in the pub. Europe is way ahead of the UK when it comes to easy drinking alcohol-free. For example, Spain has got it sussed – try a taste of the Med from Moritz and Estrella Galicia. Big names like Budweiser Prohibition Brew and Heineken 0 are also on the case. And if you want a punchy lager with US hops try Pistonhead Flat Tire. Yes, it is non-alcoholic!

4) FANCY FIZZ?

You love to raise a toast and celebrate but sparkling mineral water doesn’t quite cut it. Well, alcohol-free bubbles are not just fizzy grape juice. Scavi & Ray’s alcohol-free prosecco is made with the same grapes as the ‘real’ stuff and the aroma alone says ‘cheers’! Bees Knees has got a green tea take, and champagne expert Richard Juhlin put his name behind the premium RJ Jubilee & Blanc de Blancs. And the bottles look great as a party gift too.

5) SEEKING STOUT?

You find the dark stuff comforting at this time of year. It’s a bit like drinking pudding.

Well, for Dry January and beyond, sink into a Nirvana’s Kosmic Stout or Big Drop Chocolate Milk Stout. Or turn to the Portuguese for Cheers Preta or Super Bock Stout.

6) ICE AND A SLICE?

You want to sit back and slowly enjoy a G ‘n’ T, without the alcohol. Well, Teetotal G’n’T is for you – made with the botanicals that flavour a good quality gin and tonic, without the alcohol. Just pour over ice and enjoy. Or, there’s the sensational Seedlip. Two non-alcoholic distilled spirits  – one spicy, one herbal – with no sugar, no sweeteners and NO calories, but so much flavour and finish. Serve with a good quality tonic, or use as the base for mocktails.

7) WANT WINE?

Alcohol-free wine making is a serious business, not an afterthought, for winemakers like Torres, Vintense and Ariel. They use the best grapes, ideal growing conditions and modern processes to craft Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah Rosé, Merlot, Chardonnay, ready for your tasting notes!

Take home tips:

  1. Forget alcohol-free beers or wines you tried in the past. Things have moved on!
  2. Remember that the same ingredients, care and skill go into making alcohol-free beers and wines as their boozy brothers and sisters.
  3. Explore and try something new – Dry January is about change and adventure after all!

Dry January: It’s For You

Dry Drinker is an official Dry January partner

So, what’s it all about? Who is it for? What can you gain?

Dr Richard Piper, who helps make it happen, explains how Dry January is about benefits for YOU, like better sleep, losing weight and saving money

 

Dry January feels like it’s been around forever, doesn’t it? It’s as ubiquitously January as New Year’s resolutions and the post-Christmas belly. But how much do you know about it?

Dry January has gone from zero to over five million participants in four years.

This is its fifth year running, and we’re expecting the biggest year yet. Dry January now looks suspiciously like a movement – a movement of people who want to be in charge of when, what and how much they drink. Someone you know will be doing it. Probably more than one. Maybe your whole family. Maybe your whole office. Probably not the whole country but hey – we can dream.

It’s about YOU

Dry January is quite different to Sober for October (run by Macmillan Cancer Support) or the Dryathlon (run by Cancer Research UK), because it’s about YOU. It’s not about raising money for charity (though if you want to, you can do that through Dry January).

It’s not about giving something up. It’s about gaining some real benefits for yourself.

‘It’s about you sleeping better, losing weight, and having more cash in your pocket’

It’s about you sleeping better, losing weight, and having more cash in your pocket.

Did you know that we Brits spend an average of £50,000 on alcohol over the course of our lifetimes? Ditch the booze for a month and you could save more than you’d think.

‘It’s about you going to social occasions and realising that they can be enjoyed without alcohol’

Learn new skills

It’s about you going to social occasions and realising that they can be enjoyed without alcohol (and you’re likely to feel better the next day too).

‘It’s about you learning the skills you need to be able to say you don’t want a drink’

It’s about you learning the skills you need to be able to say you don’t want a drink, so that when February hits (or March or April or… you get the picture) and you don’t fancy that second glass of wine, you can turn it down easily.

We call these drink refusal skills and Dry January is your bootcamp for developing them.

Lasting benefits

‘But Richard,’ I hear you say. ‘Dry January is just a month. People will go back to the bottle in February. Why are you making such a fuss about it?’

Well, evidence shows that 72% of us continue to drink less that we were before Dry January even six months after it ends. That’s because, at its heart, Dry January is an opportunity to reset your relationship with alcohol, possibly for good.

‘There’s nothing to lose and an awful lot to gain’

So should you do Dry January? For most people, I would say a massive yes. There’s nothing to lose and an awful lot to gain.

If you’re worried you’ll find it hard, that’s fine. In fact, it means you might be one of the people who will benefit the most.

Lots of support

And crucially you’re not alone. We at Dry January offer support, in the shape of:

  • daily motivational emails
  • our free app which allows you to track your drinking, plus units, calories and money saved
  • our online community
  • plus more help if you need it.

I’m going to sum up with a quote from blogger Jenna Haldene, who reckons you should give Dry January a go.

‘I didn’t think I felt bad at the time. I assumed that it was normal to feel tired and slightly sluggish, and that it was just a side effect of getting older. It wasn’t until I gave my body a much-needed break from alcohol that I realised how much potential I had to feel amazing.’

Sign up for Dry January logo Dry Drinker

Sign up for Dry January now

Download the free Dry January & Beyond app via the App Store or Google Play

Read Jenna’s full blog about cutting out booze.

  • If you drink very heavily or experience physical withdrawal symptoms when not drinking alcohol, then Dry January is probably not for you. Instead, you should seek support from your GP or alcohol services; find out what’s available in your area. Unsure if this applies to you? Try this alcohol audit.

Richard Piper is the chief executive officer of Alcohol Concern, which is the charity that runs Dry January.

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