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‘Black Friday of Booze’: people encouraged to sign up for Dry January as alcohol sales increase by 114% to hit their annual peak

Dry January

  • Friday before Christmas is traditionally a day of celebration – last year more alcohol was sold in pubs, bars and restaurants than on New Year’s Eve 
  • Sales of alcohol rise by more than a quarter between November and December
  • Alcohol Concern is already seeing sign ups for Dry January 2015 as people think about taking a break from the booze


 Today (Friday 19 December) is dubbed ‘the Black Friday of Booze’, as the Christmas party season reaches its peak with an influx of revellers in pubs, bars and restaurants creating high demand across the emergency services. However, a spike in sign-ups to Dry January is also predicted as people start to think about giving their bodies a break in the New Year.

This comes as new figures[1] show that:

  • Last year, Friday 20 December saw sales of alcohol in pubs, bars and restaurants rise by 114% compared to an average Friday
  • £3.7 billion was spent on alcohol last December, with total sales of alcohol rising by more than a quarter (28%) from November to December
  • Sales of sparkling wine and liqueurs jumped in particular, by 88% and 54% respectively


Jackie Ballard, Chief Executive of Alcohol Concern, said:

“In the run up to Christmas many people start drinking more than usual as they celebrate the festive season with parties and get-togethers.

“This is the perfect time to sign up to a holiday from alcohol. Dry January is not about never drinking again. It’s just an opportunity for people to reflect on their drinking patterns and to give their body a break from alcohol after the festive period. We know from previous years that people who do Dry January will feel better, lose weight and save money.”

This data is supported by a number of people who have been keeping a record of their drinking for the past month, with many noting that their alcohol consumption in December had increased considerably from the previous month. 

Charlotte Gowing, aged 38 from London said:

“I don’t really see myself as a big drinker but I was quite shocked to see just how much more I drink in the run up to Christmas. Drinks on nights out with work and friends, as well as a few when I’m at home, all start to add up.

“I am definitely going to give my body a bit of TLC after New Year’s Eve and Dry January will be a good place to start.”

Professor Kevin Fenton, National Director of Health and Wellbeing at Public Health England says:

“Over 17,000 people took part in Dry January in 2014 and many reported that taking a month-long break from alcohol acted as a reset button concerning their alcohol use for months afterwards, not only helping people to drink less per drinking day but also to drink less frequently.

“As with any commitment to a healthier lifestyle change, people need some time to prepare themselves in advance so that they are in the best position possible to successfully achieve their goal. People who sign up to Dry January will receive the tips, ideas and encouragement to stay motivated and make the most of their month off alcohol.”

To sign up for Alcohol Concern’s Dry January and register for tips and tools to make the most of the month, people should visit www.dryjanuary.org.uk.


[1] All data provided by Nielsen and CGA Strategy







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