Download the Try Dry app to your Apple or Android smartphone and you could DOUBLE your chances of completing Dry January (if you use it, obviously!). Download the Try Dry app
We’d love to know how you’re getting on.
We’re here to help
Dry Drinker has got something for everyone in Dry January, February, March…
This year, we’re sticking close to home by supporting amazing British brewing talent. You’ll be amazed at the range of beers, ciders and non alcoholic spirits being made in the UK, often by small independent businesses.
We only sell what we love to drink ourselves, so if you need help deciding what to try, please email email@example.com
And we’d love to hear your Dry January success stories!
36 different craft beers
If you’re a fan of craft beer, our Great British Beer Box could see you sorted for Dry January. Explore 36 different craft beers, all made by British brewers, from Scotland to Cornwall, Wales to Suffolk, and with London in between. There’s everything from stout to lager, and pale ale to IPAs.
Maybe it’ll be the first time they’ve tried a really good alcohol free beer or wine. They’ll discover there is much more to enjoy than the limited choice you might find (if you’re lucky) elsewhere.
You’re giving pleasure. New tastes. Something different. A door opened. A problem solved. Potentially a bit of magic! We need this right now.
And being alcohol free means it is a treat or a luxury that they won’t have to pay for later. It’s genius how something that’s low fat, low calorie, low sugar, with no additives, can seem indulgent. No hangovers. No beer goggles. A chance to pace and stay awake to the end of the movie!
And the box and the bottles can go in the recycling. Nice feelings and no clutter.
Convenience and value
We know you have to consider cost when buying gifts and so we’ve made sure our boxes are great value. And we take care of delivery, with a personalised gift tag, so they know it comes from you.
And if you think, ‘hmm… that’s a lot for drinks that don’t have duty’, think how much you are willing to spend on a coffee 😉
Beers and wines crafted with skill and care to taste fantastic, all alcohol free – what better gift is there than that?
Spirits are special characters. They enjoy mixing but they’re more than ready to go it alone, maybe with a chunk of ice for company.
They’ve got distinctive flavours and aromas that take charge. While mellow and relaxing, give them the right bubbles, juice or bitters, and they’ll get the party started.
So, how to make these shape shifting spirits alcohol free? Using traditional distilling methods, sourcing and matching the best natural flavours, and a lot of hard work is the answered.
And the added benefits? Alcohol free spirits are low in sugar, low in calories (none in some cases!), with no artificial flavours or additives and some natural ingredients so rare you might not have heard of them.
But here are a pick of spirits that are made to help you keep calm and collected, without the ‘giggle juice’.
Soothing plant power
Three SpiritNightcap contains Valerian, Lemon Balm and Ashwagandha, all known to reduce stress and anxiety, improve sleep and boost mood
Three Spirit also use rare, high quality herbals to make Livener – a perfect pick-me-up before a party, and Social Elixir which will keep you buzzing – with no alcohol involved. They call it alchemy. We call it delicious!
Three Spirit Livener, Social Elixir and Nightcap – £24.99 for a bottle and £74.97 for a mixed case.
Step into the garden
Seedlip Garden 108 is a floral blend of peas and hay with garden herb distillates. A gentle drink with a strong, flavoursome finish.
Seedlip were the front runners. Ben Branson created the world’s first distilled non alcoholic spirit in his kitchen with an old copper still. Along with Garden 108, enjoy Spice 94 and Grove 42.
Seedlip £23.99 a bottle, or £77.97 for a mixed case
Comforting sweet flavours
Impossible? Poppycock! That’s Lyre’s response to the claim that you can’t create spirits and liqueurs that taste just like the classics.
One to note is the Lyre’s Amaretto Non Alcoholic spirit – which gives you the yummy almond, tangy spice and vanilla while keeping it medium-sweet. Delicious.
And alcohol free too. Well, you’ll be pleased to hear you can have it all.
There is a growing choice of great alcohol free drinks that meet your dietary needs, if you know where to look.
You are part of market that’s exploding and starting to really matter to drinks makers, from craft brewers to bigger brands.
The number of vegans in Great Britain quadrupled between 2014 and 2019, to 600,000* and many more of us are taking a flexitarian approach. We want to avoid animal derived products (and the cruelty that goes with them) and think plant-based to protect the environment, in what we drink as well as what we eat.
Meanwhile, about 1 in 10 people in the UK avoid gluten, including those with coeliac disease, an auto immune disease which causes gluten to damage the gut. There are also many people who suffer from gluten sensitivity or intolerance.
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.
It’s probably safe to say at this point that kombucha, once the exclusive domain of Shoreditch hipsters, has now made the leap into the mainstream. It can be found everywhere, from bars to supermarket shelves, not to mention here on the pages of your favourite non-alcoholic online shop. However, one perplexing hangover remains. The media, always keen to linger on the World of the Strange, remains infatuated with spine-shuddering pictures of scobys, and are as likely to look at gut health as a leading story. While the health aspects are undoubtedly important, they’re still convinced that this amazing drink is a peculiarity. To our minds, they’re missing the point. The real story, as far as we’re concerned, is how kombucha, when brewed well, can really change the way people drink.
We don’t say that lightly, either. Spend time with the Real Kombucha team when they’re out and about in their Booch Bus and you’ll hear evidence first-hand. The Real Kombucha range is such that people often assume they’re supping alcohol, and are dumbfounded to find that they’re actually consuming a non alcoholic drink that weighs lightly in calories and sugar. As they drink more, an idea begins to germinate. “I’m so glad I found this,” they say. “This means I can cut down on the amount of wine I drink.”
And that’s exactly how the founder, David Begg, reacted the first time that he tried the drink. “I first tried kombucha when a great friend of mine passed me a glass of his home brew across the table over dinner,” he recalls. “It was absolutely love at first sip. I couldn’t believe that this full flavoured brew was non-alcoholic. So, he gave me some kombucha culture to try brewing my own, and my obsession commenced. I had (almost) given up alcohol a couple of years previously, and since being off the alcohol, there was a really big hole in my foodie life. Water just doesn’t cut it with a great meal, but a well-brewed kombucha can really add something.”
David and his growing team experimented with around 150 teas before deciding on the three that make up their current range. Importantly (and rarely for non-drinkers), each suits a specific drinking occasion, and each can be compared to specific kinds of alcohol that have traditionally been offered in certain situations.
“We think of our Royal Flush as our full-bodied white wine or champagne,” explains David. “As it is fruity and bubbly it is a great replacement for champagne or prosecco as a celebration drink or as an aperitif. We brew it from First Flush Darjeeling, known in India as the Queen of Teas. The first two tips of the tea plant, picked as they emerge in the first bloom of spring, are dried carefully to tease out a character closer to a delicate white tea.”
“Our Dry Dragon works as a really dry Sauvignon Blanc – tart with notes of grapefruit and lemon. We brew it out of Dragonwell pan-fried green tea from Zhejiang Province in China. The fresh leaves are wiped around a piping hot wok to stop the natural oxidation process early. Unlike Japanese green teas, steamed to give a distinct grassy flavour, Dragonwell reveals more complex nutty and straw-like flavours. We talk about it as our ‘all-day’ drink.
You can have a bottle of this with your breakfast, or you can sup it in the way you might have a glass of wine in the evening.”
“Last, but by no means least, Smoke House is our most complex brew. As I said earlier, black teas tend to ferment to give notes of apple and caramel, but we have selected a Yunnan tea that has a delicate smokiness that comes through in the final ferment. The tea is grown in the high mountains of southern China by smaller, permaculture plantations. The growers climb the ancient, fully-grown trees to pick the finest leaves. Those smokey, apple and caramel flavours give you the sense that you’re drinking a delicious, earthy cider. It’s a great end-of-a-long-day drink.”
As more and more people look for an alternative to alcohol (statistics show that around 30% of Londoners between 18 and 24 say they’re teetotal), there has been a marked increase in the number of non-alcoholic options available. Most are traditional boozy drinks with the alcohol removed. In the case of kombucha, however, there’s a whole a new avenue to explore. The Real Kombucha team think of their brews in the same way that wine makers view wine: if you truly understand the ingredients and the process – where they come from, how different teas ferment, which flavours can be drawn from which leaves – and you give them the respect they deserve, then there’s no reason why kombucha shouldn’t be seen as an exquisite, high-end drink in its own right.
As the Real Kombucha tagline suggests, it’s a drink “brewed for open-minds”. Perhaps it’s time you took a step off the beaten track and explored this emerging world.
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
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: DrinkAware, NHS, 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):
From the UK (north, south, Scotland, west country) or the USA, across Europe, including Spain, Portugal, Germany, the Netherlands, (all places where you can expect to get alcohol free on tap) and further east into Russia
Made by micro breweries, craft breweries, or larger set ups that have been brewing for HUNDREDS of years for customers who demand consistent excellence
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 rosé – sparkling 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).
We are pleased to announce the winners following the judging of 50 beers* in the Dry Drinker Cheers Awards 2018. Judged by a panel of 8 independent industry experts, in a blind tasting, the Winners by category are:
Winner: Ales and Beers
Winner: Pale Ales
Winner: Porters and Stouts
Big Drop Chocolate Stout
Winner: Wheat Beers
Mikkeller Drink’in The Sun
Winner: Fruit and Flavoured
Beers judged to be highly commended were:
Wellbeing Hell Raiser
Thornbridge Big Easy
Big Drop Citrus Pale Ale
Jever Fun Pilsner
Krombacher Weizen 0.0%
Our Overall Champion as declared was Mikkeller Drink’in The Sun
Stuart Elkington, Founder of Dry Drinker said,
“As the company with the widest range of non-alcoholic beers in the UK, we thought it would be fun to ask some industry experts what they thought. Also, to give new customers some ideas of drinks they might like to try to start with.”
The judging panel consisted of:
Claire- Beer Sommelier from Everards Brewery
John- Director from Nethergate Brewery
Harry- Retired Director of Quality Assurance, Molson Coors
Chris- former Brewing and Brands Director, Greene King
Vicki- Operations Director, Castle Rock Brewery
Giles- Commercial Manager, Everards Brewery
Paul- Secretary of the Parliamentary Beer Club
Colin- Managing Director, Castle Rock Brewery
As one panel member said, “our eyes were opened to a bigger range and better quality of non- alcoholic beers than we expected. It was an impressive line-up with something for everyone”
Dry Drinker will be making the winners available in a Champions Box, so customers can order the winners altogether.
We would like to thank the judges for making this event fun and informative and Castle Rock Brewery for lending the use of their excellent Hop Loft at the Swan in the Rushes in Loughborough.
*all beers judged were 0.5% abv or less
Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash
As we have expanded our range of beers and lagers of 0.5% ABV and less, we have developed a unique portfolio of products for our customers. Our pick your own mixed cases allow you to choose and sample from this range, and of course our pre-picked recommendations are always there to help.
Some beers are produced by major European and UK Brewers and some by smaller independent businesses, who are excited to be making and promoting low and zero alcohol products and who are making a genuine impact on society.
All the alcohol free drinks we sell are produced with the same high level of care and skill as their alcoholic cousins, but are so often looked at as an afterthought in awards ceremonies. Here at Dry Drinker, we felt it was time to champion these products and shout from the rooftops about how good some of them can be. What better way then to get an independent panel of brewing and industry professionals to judge the widest range possible to give you some guidance and to celebrate this remarkable market.
So why Cheers Awards?
When we get together for a drink, whether non-alcoholic or not, we traditionally toast each other with a “Cheers!” We are effectively wishing each other “Good Health” – as the French do with their “Santé!” and the Germans with their “Prost!” By taking the alcohol-free option, we make a step towards a healthier option, with reduced calories and none of the alcoholic toxins. So what better way to celebrate a convivial drink with friends, than choosing from our range of proven winners!
Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash
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!
Get a 10% discount on your first order when you subscribe to our emails.
Add your details, hit subscribe and your 10% Discount Coupon Code will appear in this pop-up! By signing up, you consent to receiving amazing offers and an exclusive heads up on the freshest new non-alcoholic beers, wines and spirits around. You can unsubscribe at any time, no pressure.