Beyond Dry January: Alcohol moderation trends


Beyond Dry January: Alcohol moderation trends

  • Dry January reflects a time where some make the health-forward decision to take a break from alcohol—but for many, the movement is no longer restricted to just January.
  • In this piece, NIQ’s experts explore the trend of moderation in the beverage alcohol space, what and who is driving it, and where it’s headed.

Who is seeking moderation?

In 2023 alone, non-alcoholic beer, wine, and spirits topped $565M in sales1. That’s a 35% boost in dollar sales vs. the year before—but who’s leading the charge in non-alcohol consumption?

  • Gen Z (21+) only make up for 6% of beverage alcohol buyers2, and 45% say they’ve never consumed alcohol
  • As more of Gen Z approach legal drinking age, many are growing in touch with healthier lifestyles and experimenting with a sober lifestyle
  • However, consumers of all ages are tapping into the benefits of moderating alcohol consumption. For example, the 45-54 age group and those with income over 100K over index for non-alcohol consumption3

When and where are people seeking moderation?

Indicators of moderation stretch far beyond January—although sales of non-alcoholic products in the beverage alcohol space spike in the first month of the year, holidays like July 4th and New Years see a surge too:

  • These products provide a healthy, inclusive alternative for social gatherings and celebrations
  • Brick-and-mortar locations, in the form of “dry bars,” are opening nationwide—offering consumers a public setting where they can purchase handcrafted cocktails and more
  • Stores are dedicating shelf space to these alternative products, where brands like White Claw and Guinness can market alcohol-free alternatives to their popular beverages
  • E-commerce channels are also embracing this shift in consumer mindset, offering subscription services and products to curate an entire “dry bar” cart at home

Looking ahead and considerations

Consider must-win geographies

  • Including population centers like California where bigger opportunity lies, and more resources are required

States where cannabis and CBD products grow in popularity also influence the extension of non-drinking beyond January

  • Consider how to break into these markets first and target consumers whose preference is alternative products

Health and wellness play a large role in reduced alcohol consumption

  • Consider premiumization: How can we deliver experiences that resonate when consumers do choose to drink?
  • How do we market products that align with the health-conscious consumer? Product attributes are key here—think “low ABV,” “sugar free,” and other health-driven factors that align with a sober/sober curious lifestyle


  1. NielsenIQ Scan Off Premise Channels; Discover Integrated Beer, Wine, & Spirits database; Latest 52 weeks ending 12/30/2023 vs. year ago
  2. NielsenIQ Omnishopper, US ALC – Integrated (21+ only) Database; L52 WE 07/15/2023, Total Outlets, Total US
  3. NielsenIQ Omnishopper, Total U.S., Latest 52 weeks ended 07/15/2023