Press release: Almost nine million people planning to give up alcohol this January

December 2022 | 16 minutes

New research1 by Alcohol Change UK, the charity behind Dry January®, shows that almost 9 million people in the UK are planning to have a month off drinking in January 2023.

This is up from an estimated 8 million UK adults last year. Of those, one in three (33%) said they would prefer to take part in Dry January® with Alcohol Change UK, rather than trying to go alcohol-free in January on their own.

  • One in seven (17%) UK adults – estimated as 8.8 million people - plan to go alcohol-free for 31 days in January, with three in 10 looking to cut down generally in 2023
  • One in four say they have drunk more in 2022 than 2021, while for one in six the cost of living crisis was a reason for the increase in their drinking
  • Of those planning to go alcohol-free, one in three said they would prefer to take part in Dry January® with Alcohol Change UK
  • Those who take on Dry January® using the charity Alcohol Change UK’s free Try Dry® app and/or daily motivational emails are twice as likely to have a month totally alcohol-free and experience many more benefits

Download pdf

Press release for Dry January® 2023

Download the press release (2.08Mb)

The survey, commissioned by Alcohol Change UK, shows that the cost of living crisis has impacted on drinking habits over the last six months. One in six (16%) people who drink alcohol said this had led to them drinking more to cope with worries around the crisis, and one in seven (14%) have prioritised purchasing alcohol over essential items, such as groceries.

For one in three young adults who drink (36%), anxiety after drinking has also been a factor in them deciding to reduce their alcohol consumption. Hangxiety - a term used to describe the experience of feeling anxious the day after drinking - appears more prevalent amongst drinkers aged 34 and under, with two in five (40%) experiencing it regularly, compared to a tenth (12%) of those aged 35 and over. For those aged 18-34, over a third (36%) said it was a contributing factor in their decision to reduce their drinking.

Hangxiety figure from Dry January 2023 survey

Over the course of a typical week, British drinkers, on average, drink 13.7 units of alcohol. However, one in three (30%) drinkers typically drink more than the 14 units a week maximum recommended by the UK’s Chief Medical Officers, with twice as many men doing so compared to women (39% versus 22%).

Three in 10 (30%) drinkers said they would like to reduce how much they drink in 2023 (compared to 25% a year ago). Across all drinkers, half claim to already have taken measures to manage their drinking. The most common being having alcohol-free days (25%), drinking less on occasions where they are drinking alcohol (16%), having alcohol-free weeks or months (15%), or an alcohol-free night out (10%).

January 2023 marks the 10th anniversary since the launch of Dry January®. Dry January® offers the perfect opportunity to manage your drinking for the longer term and a chance to get some amazing benefits along the way. Research shows that those who do Dry January® with Alcohol Change UK double their chances of success, and have more energy, improved concentration, boosted mood, save money and so much more. A month off alcohol also leads to lower blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes risk, as well as lower cancer-related proteins in the blood.

Over the past 10 years, Dry January® has continued to grow in popularity with record numbers of drinkers signing up to take part both in the UK and elsewhere.

First launched in 2013, Dry January® was the brainchild of Emily Robinson from Alcohol Change UK (formerly known as Alcohol Concern).

Speaking about its launch, Emily Robinson, now CEO of London Sport, said:

“The idea of the Dry January® campaign first came to me after I decided to sign up for my first half-marathon. I wanted to be fitter and healthier, and I knew that alcohol makes it harder to get up every day and train. So I decided, just for one month, to give up alcohol in January.

“The mental and physical results were amazing. I slept better, had more energy, lost weight, and saved money.

“I also found that friends and colleagues were completely fascinated by my experiment, and more and more people wanted to speak to me about it. So, when I joined Alcohol Change UK (formerly Alcohol Concern) in 2012, I shared the idea with colleagues asking everyone to join in with taking a month off booze in January.

“Ten years on, it’s wonderful to see how Dry January® has become the huge phenomenon it is today. I’m incredibly proud of the campaign and would encourage anyone who’s interested in feeling happier and healthier to give it a try.”

Dry January® officially launched in January 2013. For that first year, 4,000 people signed up to take part. Since then, Dry January® has grown in popularity with over 130,000 people signing up to take part with Alcohol Change UK in 2022.

Evidence shows that Dry January® is an effective and lasting way to cut down. Research by the University of Sussex2 published in 2020 found that those signing up to take part in Dry January® using Alcohol Change UK’s free Try Dry app and/or coaching emails are twice as likely to have a completely alcohol-free month, compared to those who try to avoid alcohol on their own in January, and have significantly improved wellbeing and healthier drinking six months later.

Ailar Hashemzadeh, Director of Research and Public Affairs at Alcohol Change UK, said:

“Over the past few years, things have been incredibly tough for so many people and the cost of living crisis is making things even tougher. This has led to more and more of us finding our drinking creeping up, particularly for those of us who were drinking more heavily to start with.

“Since its launch 10 years ago, Dry January® has provided a brilliant opportunity for hundreds of thousands of people to take a break from drinking and have a total reset.

“It helps you break habits you’ve fallen into and make long-term changes for the better. It can help to relieve anxiety and helps you remember that you don’t need alcohol to have fun, relax, celebrate, unwind or anything else. It puts you back in control of your drinking.

“If you’d like to reset your relationship with alcohol, give Dry January® a try by downloading the free Try Dry® app or sign up at It could be the spark you need for a happier and healthier 2023.”

Those taking part in Dry January® get access to all of the free tools and resources from Alcohol Change UK, from its Try Dry® app to its daily motivational emails.

We'd encourage anyone who's interested in resetting their relationship with alcohol to download the free Try Dry® app. You can use it year-round to check your units, calories and money saved, and earn badges as you go.

Alcohol Change UK is proud to be partnering with Lyre’s, Mocktails and Lucky Saint for Dry January® 2023.

How to take part in Dry January®

Download the free Try Dry® app via the App Store or Google Play. Via Try Dry® you will be able to receive optional daily coaching emails. Alternatively, you can sign up for just the email coaching programme at

Try Dry® allows people to track their units, calories and money saved not drinking, plus set personalised goals and earn badges year-round. People who take part in Dry January®, whether online or via Try Dry®, are twice as likely to spend the whole the month alcohol-free, despite being heavier drinkers to start with (de Visser and Nicholls, 2020).


Dry January® stories

References and notes from the news release

1The survey was carried out online by Opinium between 29 November and 2 December 2022. Total sample size was 2,000 UK adults, of whom 1,483 said they were drinkers. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).

The figure of 9 million was calculated as 17% of total population aged 18+ in the UK (52,890,044 – reference: ONS, Population Estimates for the UK: mid-2020).

The figure of 7.9 million for January 2022 was calculated as 15% of total population aged 18+ in the UK (52,890,044 – reference: ONS, Population Estimates for the UK: mid-2020).

2 de Visser, R. and Nicholls, J. (2020) Temporary abstinence during Dry January®: predictors of success; impact on well-being and self-efficacy, Psychology & Health, 35:11, 1293-1305

The charity behind Dry January®

Alcohol Change UK works for a world free from alcohol harm. We fund, commission and share research; provide information and advice; work to ensure more and better support and treatment; encourage better policy and regulation; shift drinking cultures through our campaigns; and work to change drinking behaviours. Find out more at:

Year-round healthier drinking

People who take part in Dry January® drink more riskily than the general population (as measured by AUDIT-C, a tool developed by the World Health Organisation). Yet six months after the challenge ends their average drinking risk score has decreased dramatically – in contrast to people who do not take part in Dry January®, whose risk scores remain similar.

  • Drinking days per week dropped on average from 4.3 to 3.3;
  • Units consumed per drinking day dropped on average from 8.6 to 7.1;
  • Frequency of drunkenness fell on average from 3.4 per month to 2.1 per month.

Reference: de Visser, R. and Nicholls, J. (2020) Temporary abstinence during Dry January®: predictors of success; impact on well-being and self-efficacy, Psychology & Health, 35:11, 1293-1305

Physical health

Research published in 2018, conducted by the Royal Free Hospital and published in the British Medical journal, found that a month off alcohol:

  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Reduces diabetes risk
  • Reduces levels of cancer-related proteins in the blood

Reference: Mehta G, Macdonald S, Cronberg A, et al. Short-term abstinence from alcohol and changes in cardiovascular risk factors, liver function tests and cancer-related growth factors: a prospective observational study BMJ Open 2018;8:e020673. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-020673

Alcohol withdrawal warning

People who are clinically alcohol dependent can die if they suddenly, completely stop drinking.

If you experience fits, shaking hands, sweating, seeing things that are not real, depression, anxiety, or difficulty sleeping after a period of drinking and while sobering up, then you may be clinically alcohol dependent and should NOT suddenly, completely stop drinking. But you can still take control of your drinking.

Talk to a GP or your local community alcohol service who will be able to get help for you to reduce your drinking safely.

Find out more here.

Official Partners of Dry January® 2023

For this year’s Dry January® campaign, Alcohol Change UK is proud to be partnering Lyre’s, Mocktails and Lucky Saint – three brands who make great-tasting alcohol alternative drinks.

Lyre’s are the Official Wine and Spirit of Dry January® 2023. Mark Livings, Co-Founder and CEO of Lyre's, said: “We know that social occasions and alcohol go hand-in-hand for a lot of people, so it’s no surprise that during Dry January®, fewer people head into bars and pubs because they think there’s going to be nothing on offer for them. As part of our partnership with Alcohol Change UK, we’re really trying to challenge those perceptions.

“We’ve invested a huge amount of time and effort in increasing our on-trade distribution over the past two years, ensuring that people can still enjoy the same great taste of their favourite drinks in their favourite bars without the alcohol. Dry January® is an amazing platform that enables us to speak directly to people who may not have heard of Lyre’s before or who may be discovering the world of non-alcoholic drinks for the first time. We hope that by showing them the versatility and range we offer at Lyre’s, they will be more open to continuing their mindful drinking journey with us – even after Dry January® is over.”

Mocktails are the Official Cocktails of Dry January® 2023. Bill Gamelli, Founder and CEO of Mocktails™, said: "I've long respected the mission Alcohol Change UK have set about accomplishing over the years. They continue to do amazing work educating on alcohol harm for individuals and communities. We are truly honoured to be an Official Partner, and we are looking forward to working together with their team."

Lucky Saint are the Official Beer of Dry January® 2023. Luke Boase, Founder of Lucky Saint, said: "We're excited to be partnering with Alcohol Change UK on their Dry January® campaign for the second year as the Official Beer of Dry January®, marking the first year in our new three-year partnership with the charity.

“Dry January® has become a cultural phenomenon over the last few years, with hundreds of thousands of UK adults taking part and continuing to moderate their drinking throughout the rest of the year - as the UK's #1 dedicated alcohol-free beer brand, we're thrilled to be a part of it.”

Dry January®. Are you in? Download the free app, Try Dry®, via the App Store or Google Play, or sign up for free daily coaching emails today!

Download the app