I previously wrote about trying to get back on track starting in 2022, and one of the tools that I used seems to have become quite popular over the last few years: Dry January. While there are people every year that decide to forgo alcohol in the month after the holidays, I imagine that the increase in consumption as a way to deal with two years of COVID stress has put many people in a position where they are rethinking their relationship with inebriants.
One in five adults in the US said they are participating in Dry January, double what it was two years ago. France is currently in the third year of promoting Dry January, or #LeDefideJanvier, where almost one fourth of the population said they would participate.
Brewers have taken note of this, and as such there is a growing movement toward high-quality non-alcoholic beer. I remember my Dad would occasionally drink O’Doul’s when I was growing up. Indeed, for most of my life, the brand name was synonymous with non-alcoholic beer as it was the only option available. But now things are changing.
NPR recently put out a story about the growing number of alcohol-free (AF) beers in a wide variety of different styles. The Adult Non-Alcoholic Beverage Association has seventeen breweries specializing in AF beers. Here in France, I was able to easily find almost a dozen non-alcohol beer options, and the grocery store was even having a sale in January.
Personally, I decided to do Dry January for two main reasons: 1) to do a hard reset to help my body recover while physically getting in better shape, and 2) to mentally break a habitual pattern of reaching for a wine glass instead of a book or other productive tool.
Now that we are into February, I’m free to drink again. But I plan to incorporate some of the better-tasting AF beers into my routine, either to have a night where I want to hang out but rest clear-headed or to switch to mid-night to ensure I don’t feel like crap the next day.
If you missed Dry January, but are interested to try, Dry February has three fewer days of commitment.