Press release: More than one in four people want to reduce the amount of alcohol they drink in 2024

December 2023 | 13 minutes

New research1 from Alcohol Change UK, the charity behind Dry January®, has revealed that amongst UK adults (excluding non-drinkers), 30% of men and 26% of women would like to reduce the amount of alcohol they drink in 2024.

The new figures come as one in six UK adults (16%) plan to take a break from alcohol this January. This is estimated at 8.5 million people.

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Press release for Dry January® 2024

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As the year draws to a close, just under one in five adults (18%, excluding non-drinkers) said they drank more in 2023 than 2022 – but there are signs that there is strong public appetite to reduce the amount of alcohol being drunk, with more than half (57%) of this group saying they wanted to cut down in 2024.

Within this group, almost a quarter of people (23%) cited having more opportunities to socialise or celebrate with others as a reason for drinking more. Drinking to try to cope with financial worries and the rising cost of living was the second most popular reason (21%).

Alcohol Change UK is the independent UK charity working for a world free from alcohol harm and it runs Dry January® – an annual campaign which enables people to take a break from alcohol.

Dr Richard Piper, Chief Executive of Alcohol Change UK, said: “Our research shows that the reasons for drinking more over the past year are varied; many people are still worried about rising costs and are using alcohol as an attempt to cope, but we’re also seeing people who are socialising more freely, perhaps as people continue to enjoy their post-pandemic freedom.

“No matter the circumstances, it’s encouraging that three in five of those who have found themselves drinking more want to cut down in 2024. But we know that taking the first step can feel daunting. However, 67% of people who take part in Dry January® and access our free tools and resources have a completely alcohol-free month, compared to just 33% of those trying to go dry on their own. No matter what people’s individual reasons are for wanting to cut back, Alcohol Change UK has expert-designed tools like our brilliant Try Dry® app to keep you motivated, inspired and on-track through January and beyond.”

The survey also revealed that many of us continue to struggle to keep on top of our drinking, with one in five people (21%) now regularly drinking more than the recommended maximum of 14 units a week (equivalent to six pints of normal strength beer or lager or a bottle and a half of wine, per week).

Alec's story

For Alec, aged 34, a medical scare and the loss of his father who struggled for years with alcohol dependency, provided the motivation he needed to do things differently.

He said: “Life seemed to be throwing out curveballs left, right, and centre, I couldn’t seem to catch a break and began to use alcohol as a coping mechanism. The once warm tingle and laughter associated with meeting up with friends, having a few drinks and a laugh turned into drinking heavily at home alone to dull the pain of a life I was increasingly becoming unhappier in.

“But I got lucky. After being given the all-clear after a medical scare, I decided enough was enough, I had to change. I discovered Alcohol Change UK and their Dry January® challenge and thought I’d give it a bash.

“The information I gained from my experience was invaluable. It really got me thinking differently about alcohol and its effects on physical and mental health and relationships. The Try Dry® app is an excellent tool to help you keep track of your goals in January and beyond, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is considering making a change to their drinking habits.”

Emily’s story

Emily, aged 64, used to enjoy a glass or two of wine over the course of an evening. But this soon turned into a bottle every time which soon became the norm. But Dry January® really helped her to take back control.

She said: “Occasionally, I'd take a day off drinking but it wasn't until I decided to give Dry January® a go that I really felt the benefits of a longer break. The main benefit for me was better sleep and not waking up with a headache in the morning. I also felt that my liver was thanking me and cheering me on.”

Research shows that those who take part in Dry January® from Alcohol Change UK double their chances of success, and have more energy, improved concentration, boosted mood, save money, and have significantly improved wellbeing and lower alcohol risks six months later2. A month off alcohol has been proven to lead to lower blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes risk, as well as lower cancer-related proteins in the blood3.

Details of how to take part in Dry January® and how to download the Try Dry® app from Alcohol Change UK can be found at

References and notes from press release

1 The survey was carried out online by Opinium between 21 November and 24 November 2023. Total sample size was 2,000 UK adults, of whom 28% said they don’t drink alcohol. The figures have been weighted to be nationally representative of UK adults (aged 18+).

The figure of 8.5 million was calculated as 16% of total population aged 18+ in the UK (53,188,204 – reference: ONS, Population Estimates for the UK: mid-2021, released in December 2022).

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

3 Mehta G, Macdonald S, Cronberg A, et al. (2018) 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 Change UK – The charity behind Dry January®

Alcohol Change UK is an independent charity working 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 on our website.

How to take part

It’s easy to take part:

  • Download Try Dry® (the official app of Dry January®), via the App Store or Google Play. It's free and easy to use.
  • If you'd prefer not to use an app, you can sign up to take part here.

Taking part gives you access to:

  • Try Dry® (the official app of Dry January®) – backed by behavioural science and designed to guide you through the 31 days – helping you to track your units, calories and money saved, log your dry days, earn badges, access tips and stories, and much more
  • Daily coaching emails with tips, tricks, inspiration and information from experts in alcohol, to make your month easier and more fun
  • The amazing Dry January® online community on Facebook where you can connect with others and shares your experiences
  • A whole host of web content including dozens of fascinating personal stories and expert advice and information

Alcohol withdrawal warning

If you drink very heavily or regularly Dry January may not be for you.

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® 2024

For this year’s Dry January®, Alcohol Change UK is proud to be partnering with Lucky Saint, Lyre’s, Mocktails, and The Insurance Surgery.

Lucky Saint are the Official Beer of Dry January® 2024. Luke Boase, Founder of Lucky Saint, said: "Alcohol Change UK has done an incredible job building Dry January® into the phenomenon it is today. As the Official Beer of Dry January®, we are proud to support Alcohol Change UK and bring superior quality alcohol-free beer to the huge number of people taking part."

Lyre’s are the Official Wine and Spirit of Dry January® 2024. Paul Gloster, CEO of Lyre's, said: “We started Lyre’s with a bold mission, to change the way the world drinks. Our global success has shown that there’s incredible demand for premium non-alcoholic drinks. We believe it is part of our role to educate and showcase the wide range of options available to them, whether they want to stop or moderate. We are delighted to be partnering with Alcohol Change UK which is an incredible organisation helping people to develop a healthier relationship with alcohol.”

Mocktails are the Official Cocktails of Dry January® 2024. Bill Gamelli, Founder and CEO of Mocktails™, said: "I’ve long respected Alcohol Change UK's mission to reduce the serious harm caused by alcohol. It continues to do amazing work on raising awareness of alcohol harm among individuals and communities. We are truly honoured to be an ‘Official Partner’ and look forward to working together."

The Insurance Surgery are the Official Insurance of Dry January ® 2024. Andy Mellor, Managing Director, said: “We're thrilled to embark on this meaningful partnership with Alcohol Change UK. Our shared vision is to revolutionise the way people perceive and access life insurance. Far too often, individuals mistakenly believe that life insurance is beyond their reach, deeming it too costly or assuming they won't qualify. However, the reality is quite the opposite. By collaborating with Alcohol Change UK, we aim to break down these barriers, dispel misconceptions, and empower everyone to take control of their financial future.”

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

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