Giving up alcohol for January is the new fad. A bit like those 5:2 diets where you don't eat for two days so you feel better about eating crap the rest of the week. Cutting back booze after Christmas is nothing new; money is tight, the weight has crept and to be honest we're a bit bloated and slightly fed up of drinking. But a whole month?
This year seems different. The 'health' lobby seem to be preaching in all the papers either through paid adverts or with the help of sympathetic editors. They encourage us to get sponsored and give up for charity. That way we're less likely to fall off the rails. The cynic in me thinks in future years they'll suggest that we make it January and February, or why not give up completely?
Where does this dry month leave our pubs? We know that many are struggling and pubs are still closing down in great numbers. As I said January has always been a poor month for sales, but encouraging large numbers of us to forsake alcohol for a whole month may well be the end for our beleaguered publicans. Most of the new abstainers will cease visiting pubs completely to avoid temptation rather than shift to soft drinks. Pub overheads don't change in January. The bills still have to be paid and heating and lighting costs are at their highest. So, before you're taken in by the anti-alcohol lobby be aware that giving up drink for January could mean no pub to return to in February.