It’s a dry January even for booze brands

FeaturedFood & DrinkMoney

Written by:

 

Back on the (Band) Wagon

At first glance, the concept of Dry January would seem to clash with the alcohol business. But many such companies are increasingly using the campaign to boost their brand awareness, even as customers abstain from using the products they sell.

For example, a recent commercial released by vodka distillery Tito’s featured Martha Stewart using its product — not by drinking it, but rather in various DIY projects. But for many companies, it’s more than just an advertising gimmick.

Beverage conglomerate Diageo (DEO) has acquired a stake in zero-proof brands Seedlip and Ritual. And Heineken’s (HEINY) alcohol-free 0.0 beer, which represented over a quarter of all US nonalcoholic beer sales as of last October, grew 7.9% in year-over-year sales between September 2021 and September 2022.

______________________

SPONSORED: Find a Qualified Financial Advisor

1. Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn't have to be hard. SmartAsset's free tool matches you with up to 3 fiduciary financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes.

2. Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests. If you're ready to be matched with local advisors that can help you achieve your financial goals get started now.

______________________

 

 

 

Tito’s and Your To-Do List

Since it doesn’t sell any non-alcoholic products, Tito’s participation in Dry January is solely within the advertising realm. Its DIY commercial explains spritzing vodka inside boots keeps them fresh, while adding it to cut flowers keeps them fresher for longer. However, it will be followed by a product launch: a limited edition collection featuring bottle-topper attachments for use while cleaning, along with a “list of tips and tricks” of dry ways to utilize the vodka.

Industry observers argue this represents a strategic shift for major alcohol brands, who are responding to changing drinking habits — as well as a sign that more consumers are embracing Dry January.

Dry Beer (Not the Flavor)

Heineken’s success selling non-alcoholic beer goes well with Dry January, and other beer brands appear to have taken note. Budweiser (BUD) is promoting its non-alcoholic beer this month, while Japanese brewer Asahi is introducing its Asahi Super Dry 0.0% in the UK and Ireland.

Across the board, beer brands are facing facts: beer sales are on the decline. They’re responding by associating themselves with Dry January — and hoping non-alcoholic options can carry revenues forward for more than just one month.

Learn More:

This article originally appeared on SoFi.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

Please understand that this information provided is general in nature and shouldn’t be construed as a recommendation or solicitation of any products offered by SoFi’s affiliates and subsidiaries. In addition, this information is by no means meant to provide investment or financial advice, nor is it intended to serve as the basis for any investment decision or recommendation to buy or sell any asset. Keep in mind that investing involves risk, and past performance of an asset never guarantees future results or returns. It’s important for investors to consider their specific financial needs, goals, and risk profile before making an investment decision.
The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. These links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement. No brands or products mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this content.
Communication of SoFi Wealth LLC an SEC Registered Investment Advisor
SoFi isn’t recommending and is not affiliated with the brands or companies displayed. Brands displayed neither endorse or sponsor this article. Third party trademarks and service marks referenced are property of their respective owners.

More from MediaFeed:

Why is some alcohol called ‘hard’? And other booze facts

 

First of all, let’s look at the word “hard.” It’s an old Germanic word — so old that one of its first recorded uses is in “Beowulf,” the epic poem written around 700 AD. Maybe because it’s so old, the word has come to have many shades of meaning. It can mean firm and unyielding, rough and abrasive, or stubborn and obstinate.

SPONSORED: Find a Qualified Financial Advisor

1. Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to 3 fiduciary financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes.

2. Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.

 

Mpak ART studio | Ilarion Ananiev/ istockphoto

 

Another meaning that developed early on was “harsh and unpleasant.” It makes sense, then, that in the 1500s, it started being used to describe alcohol that had a sharp, acidic flavor.

A “hard wine” was one that contained a lot of tannins — compounds that come from grape skins and seeds and have an astringent flavor. A treatise on good manners written in the 1500s notes that “Neither hard wine is pleasant to the taste, neither haughty behavior acceptable in company.” Indeed!

 

 

Natalia Van Doninck/ istockphoto

 

Another sense of “hard” that developed over time was “powerful and potent.” That’s the sense we use today when we refer to drinks with a high alcohol content, like vodka — in contrast to ones with a lower alcohol content, like beer.

 

 

VadimZakirov/ istockphoto

 

The final sense of “hard” we’ll talk about is the sense of an action that involves great force or that a person does recklessly. From this sense comes the expression of someone being a “hard drinker.” It doesn’t mean they drink hard alcohol (although they might). Instead, it means they drink persistently and drink in excess. Not usually the best combination.

 

bhofack2/ istockphoto

 

One other fact about “hard drinks.” You might think of them as the opposite of “soft drinks.” Today, when we use that phrase, we think of sugary, carbonated beverages like Coke, Pepsi or Dr Pepper.

By the way, if you care about punctuation, take note: The “Dr” in “Dr Pepper” does not take a period. If you have a problem with that, talk to the ad executives who decided in the 1950s to take it out because they thought it would be easier to read the name on the bottle without the period.

They were Americans, so they would normally have used a period. But I believe the British don’t put a period after the abbreviation for “doctor.” But Dr Pepper wasn’t owned by a British company at the time.

 

asiantiger247/ istockphoto

 

But the term “soft drink” originally referred to any beverage that was non-alcoholic, such as lemonade, soda water or ginger ale. That usage appeared in the mid-1800s, in an advertisement for an establishment offering “hot mutton, … custards and soft drinks.” Sounds yummy!

 

 

bhofack2/ istockphoto

 

Let’s jump back a minute to when I mentioned that certain drinks have a higher alcohol content than others. These drinks — brandy, gin, whisky, rum, tequila and vodka — are created by distillation.

That process gives us a hint about another word that’s used for hard alcohol: “spirits.”

 

 

IvanZivkovic/ istockphoto

 

Spirits are made by taking an already-existing beverage like wine and heating it in a still. Because alcohol has a lower boiling point than water (78.5 degrees Celsius/ 173.3 degree Fahrenheit versus 100 degrees Celsius / 212 °degree Fahrenheit), the alcohol in the beverage will evaporate before the water does.

So, if you collect the vapors rising from the still, and let them cool and condense back into a liquid, you’ll get a beverage with a higher alcohol content than the one you started with.

And what might those wispy vapors look like, rising into the air? A ghostly presence. A spirit, if you will.

 

MarianVejcik/ istockphoto

 

Another possible explanation for why we call alcoholic drinks “spirits” is that a person’s spirit is considered the most essential part of their being. In the same way, alcohol has long been considered essential to life, whether for palliative, medicinal or recreational reasons.

In fact, some historians believe that the reason our primate ancestors came down from the trees in the first place was to eat fermenting fruit lying on the forest floor. And that early humans began to plant and domesticate grains not so they could make bread — but so they could make beer.

 

Taveesaksri/ istockphoto

 

One thing we know for sure is that for centuries, before the advent of modern sanitation, drinking alcohol was often better for you than drinking plain water. That’s because alcohol is produced by fermentation.

And when grains and fruits ferment, they produce not just ethanol — which can kill bacteria — but also many other vital nutrients, including B vitamins like folic acid, niacin and riboflavin.  In fact, one of Noah Webster’s biographies describes his usual breakfast as “bread and beer,” which wasn’t the red flag back in the 1700s that it would be today.

And we’ll end with a final synonym for alcohol: “aqua vitae,” which is “water of life” in Latin.

This article originally appeared on QuickAndDirtyTips.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

 

ViktoriiaNovokhatska/ istockphoto

 

(1)  Orchard, Andy. A Critical Companion to Beowulf, pp. 231. Boydell & Brewer Ltd, 2003 (accessed July 9, 2019).

(2)  Krebiehl, Anne. What are Tannins, Really?Wine Enthusiast, Sept. 11, 2018 (accessed July 9, 2019).

(3) Oxford English Dictionary, online edition. Oxford University Press. Alcohol, hard, soft, spirit (subscription required, accessed July 9, 2019).

(4) Encyclopedia Britannica, online edition. Distilled spirit, Distillation, Why is Alcohol Measured by Proof? (subscription required, accessed July 9, 2019).

(5) Foley, Michael. Drunk Catholic History: Spirits and the Holy Spirit. One Peter Five (accessed July 9, 2019).

(6) Curry, Andrew. Our 9,000-Year Love Affair With BoozeNational Geographic, February 2017 (accessed July 9, 2019).

(7) Alba-Lois, L. & Segal-Kischinevzky, C. (2010) Yeast Fermentation and the Making of Beer and WineNature Education 3(9):17 (accessed July 9, 2019).

 

franticstudio/ istockphoto

 

 

Suradech14

 

Featured Image Credit: krisanapong detraphiphat / iStock.

AlertMe