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Dubai drinks supplier raises a glass to Dry January

Hospitality sales often drop off at the start of the year but Drink Dry says Dry January helps its sales Unsplash/Al Elmes
Hospitality sales often drop off at the start of the year but Drink Dry says Dry January helps its sales
  • Drink Dry strong in January
  • 20% higher than December
  • No-alcohol sector up 5%

Drink Dry, a Dubai-based supplier of non-alcoholic beverages, has reported a 20 percent bump in sales during Dry January, defying a traditional post-festive period slump in the hospitality sector.

Dry January is an initiative launched in the UK by Alcohol Change in 2013. It involves consumers abstaining from alcohol for the first month of the year, to recover from the hectic December social period.

Erika Doyle set up Drink Dry in Dubai in 2020 and the Dry January initiative has proved lucrative for the startup, with the first month of the year accounting for about 13 percent of annual revenue.

Nonetheless, “Drink Dry is still in its maximum growth stage and therefore December is always our highest revenue-generating month in any calendar year,” Doyle said.

The online retailer said non alcoholic beers were its biggest seller, accounting for 40 percent of sales, followed by sparkling wine (25 percent), still wine (20 percent) and spirits (15 percent).

It also supplies 350 bars and restaurants in the UAE, up from 180 in July 2022.

Doyle said that over the last three years, January sales have been 20 percent higher than the previous December. 

“Most businesses in F&B and hospitality will see a decline in revenue post festive season,” she pointed out.

Drink Dry's Erika Doyle says Dry January helps to boost the company's takings above those for DecemberDrink Dry – Supplied
Drink Dry’s Erika Doyle says Dry January helps to boost the company’s takings above those for December

Naim Maadad, chief executive and founder of Gates Hospitality and a board member of UAE Restaurant Group, confirmed January is often a much quieter period for the industry, after a busy end to the year.

“Typically there is a drop in business as people feel the pinch after the festivities and the travel,” he said. “There is typically a drop of 10 percent in business until people resume their daily routines and chores.”

The outlook for the Dubai hospitality sector this year is positive, according to the second annual Dubai Gastronomy Industry Report, released earlier this month by the Department of Economy and Tourism.

It reported a 61 percent year-on-year increase in the average number of times residents dined out in 2023, up from 1.8 times per week in 2022 to 2.9 times per week last year.

The no- and low-alcohol sector – dubbed NoLo – grew 5 percent in volume in 2023, and the market is now worth more than $13 billion worldwide, according to research by IWSR Drinks Market Analysis, which analyses data on alcohol.

IWSR estimated that the non-alcoholic drinks sector is set to grow by around 7 percent per annum over the next four years.

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