Is #DryJanuary a disaster for the pub trade?
Why the long face?
January's going to be dry? Is it down to global warming?
No, it means people giving up alcohol for the month.
As if business wasn't bad enough in January! Who's behind this?
Originally a call to detox after the excesses of Christmas and New Year's Eve, it has more recently been hijacked by anti-alcohol charities such as Alcohol Concern, in a cynical attempt to raise cash.
Well, I shan't be joining in.
That's your choice but last year two million people did give it a go and Alcohol Concern thinks the number will be even higher in 2016.
This is a disaster for the pub trade.
Yes... and no. Last year the trade launched a fightback with #TryJanuary, which urged people to visit pubs and bars to try new tastes and experiences, and in any case, pubs offer far more than just a swift half these days.
For sure, but drinks are where we make most of our money.
Soft drinks offer pretty good margins too.
But who wants to come to the pub to sip on a warm lemonade?
These days soft drinks can be really exciting – craft sodas, mocktails, posh soft drinks, a growing array of alcohol-free beers and wines. There's a myriad of teas available and look how popular (and lucrative) coffee is now.
Quite, and with more and more people not drinking – one in five UK adults is now teetotal, according the Office for National Statistics — offering a decent range of soft drinks will soon be vital whatever month it is.
Cripes. I'd better make a start.
Soft drinks suppliers will help. For this January Coca-Cola Enterprises is positioning its new Schweppes Sparkling Juice range as "indulgent drinks" for those on the wagon, while Britvic is also planning activity for some of its brands.
Any other advice?
Also look around for smaller, more local and craft brands where possible, to make sure your soft drink range is as appealing as your beer or gin range.
I know. Personally I'll be rejecting Dry January for #Ginuary.
Every month's a gin month as far as I'm concerned.
Your hints for free gin are getting more and more obvious.
Worth a punt:
Revamping your soft drink range and promoting a handful of delicious mocktails.
Don't bother with:
Dry January. It's really the worst month for giving up the sauce.