No matter the year, every New Year’s celebration bears a few familiar hallmarks: the ball drop, the countdown, and, of course, resolutions to follow. While making grand sweeping, life-changing declarations in the cold light of day following the holiday season might not seem like the most logical undertaking, Americans embrace resolutions every year in droves. According to one recent poll, roughly 74 percent of Americans make at least one resolution for the new year, with health and self-improvement the most popular categories for 2021.
Taking a break from alcohol for the month of January is one of the most popular (and hotly debated) ways of jumpstarting the year for would-be health and self-improvement. According to a 2019 poll, 14 percent of American adults planned on a hiatus from drinking alcohol for January 2020. And the trend isn’t just for Americans—many across the pond and beyond find value in abstaining, too. Dr. Abigael San, a psychologist in London, suggests that abstaining from alcohol for a time can have benefits, potentially boosting your sex drive, confidence, and self-efficacy. “It’s different for each individual, but it’s good to experience it so you know what it feels like [to refrain from alcohol for a time]. Then you’re in a better position to make choices around [drinking].”
13 years ago Chris Marshall stopped drinking for a few weeks and hasn’t looked back. That fateful decision changed his life, and his profession—he has since opened his own non-alcoholic bar in Austin, Texas, called Sans Bar. “Once I was able to abstain for a few weeks, I felt this huge boost of confidence,” says Marshall. “I also felt physically better because I was making better food choices. In about a month, I started getting compliments from my family and friends that I looked so healthy.”
Everyone has their own relationship to alcohol, Marshall says, and taking a short break is a great way to evaluate the quality of that relationship. He’s wary of branding (sorry, Drynuary) or putting time frames around such breaks, emphasizing that the important thing is just trying it out. “You don’t have to put any labels on your alcohol break, or make an official announcement, or stop drinking forever,” says Marshall. “Think of Dry January as a break and not a break up, if you are sober curious. If your goal is to better understand how alcohol impacts you, you cannot fail,” he explains.
Importantly, skipping alcohol doesn’t have to mean leaving social moments or celebrations behind, too. Marshall credits sophisticated non-alcoholic beverages as essential to maintaining an alcohol-free lifestyle—that’s part of the reason he opened his own NA-bar. “Having good, non-alcohol drinks means you don’t have to miss out on a good time,” says Marshall. With many cities offering NA bars these days, and major brewers like Heineken® introducing new NA beers still brewed for full flavor, there are plenty of opportunities to test out a new approach to alcohol. “I always bring extra because someone always asks to try whatever I’m drinking, which feels great.”
If you’re dipping your toe into the alcohol-free waters for a few weeks for a reset, it doesn’t mean missing out on a celebratory beer, either. In fact, going alcohol-free means you can also crack a cold one when you might not have otherwise. Just finished a new grueling fitness routine midday? Enjoy an NA beer! There are more non-alcoholic beers on the market than ever before — and thankfully, they’re tasting better than ever. For Heineken® 0.0, the Amsterdam-based brand drew on its 156 years of brewing innovation to craft a non-alcoholic beer that lives up to its name.
Brewing non-alcoholic beer that holds its own alongside traditional beers has presented a challenge to brewers for generations. Removing alcohol from brewed beer often meant removing the depth of flavor. Heineken®’s master brewers developed Heineken® 0.0 with only natural ingredients, which are the same as the ones used for Heineken® Original (water, malted barley, hop, and Heineken® A-yeast), creating a non-alcoholic beer that tastes just as good as its forebearers—maybe even better. The alcohol in Heineken® 0.0 is removed through vacuum distillation, then it is blended with additional natural flavors. The result is a non-alcoholic beer that you’ll actually want to reach for, whether you’re doing a New Year’s reset, taking a break from booze, or simply want to savor a satisfying, refreshing beverage without disrupting your day.
After all, with 2020 finally behind us and the possibilities of a new year ahead, we’ve all got that much to celebrate.
Want ideas for enjoying your dry January, plus a special offer on a 31-pack of Heineken® 0.0? Head to BeerForJanuary.com.