Now approaching its second year, the positive push for the trade will coincide with Alcohol Concern's Dry January abstinence campaign and began in January 2015 when cocktail bar group Be At One launched an eponymous initiative to encourage more people to try cocktails in its bars.
The #TryJanuary hashtag has been brought to the notice of the wider industry by the Publican's Morning Advertiser (PMA) in an effort to encourage people out of their homes and into their local hostelries during the start of the year - and has been embraced by the hospitality trade.
Operators planning to take part in the #TryJanuary campaign include: Mitchells & Butlers Premium Country Pubs, Punch Taverns, The Craft Beer Co, MEATliquor, North Bar, The New World Trading Company, Whiting & Hammond, Dark Star Brewing Co, Urban Arts Bars, The Laine Pub Company, Cheshire Cat Pubs & Bars and Charles Wells, as well as swathes of freehouses across the UK.
Bar bosses are encouraged to get their staff to talk to customers about Try January and encourage them to tweet and Instagram images of their Try January choices with the hashtag #TryJanuary to boost more interesting food and drink choices during the month.
Christian Townsley, co-owner of North Bar said: "I can't think of a better way to start the year than #TryJanuary, encouraging people to get out of the house during one of the darkest months of the year, socialising and expanding their horizons in terms of taste and experience. Surely that's miles better than abstaining?!"
"Charles Wells will be taking to social media to encourage its thousands of followers to try something new this January with beer style and food matching suggestions during the campaign," said Peter Wells, commercial director for Charles Wells.
MEATliquor operations director Hayden Balkwell said: "January is bad enough and made even worse with people not drinking. We have a new vegetarian/vegan stout-based chilli dish on. So this will be given a big push."
Martin Hayes, founder, The Craft Beer Co added: "We're committed to encouraging people to sample new beers and enjoy new experiences every day of the year but fully support the PMA's Try January campaign."
Punch Taverns operations director Paul Pavli said: "We plan to roll out Try January with all new Punch publicans as we did last year. Plus, this year we will also make it available to all existing partners."
Dark Star Brewing Co has revealed it will be sending two barrels of Hophead 'Dry' (a dry-hopped version of its classic session beer) free of charge to its own pubs to allow each of them to offer one as free samples and the other to sell, with the takings going to good causes.
"This will be our nod to Try January and, at the same time, we'll raise some money and use the month as a reminder to pubgoers about what great work pubs do for charity, work that goes well beyond a sponsored one-month abstinence," said James Cuthbertson, marketing director at Dark Star Brewing Co.
"Research from PubAid tells us that pubs raise more than £100m for charity every year, it would be nice if the charities that benefit from this great work would at least recognise that and make the most of the pub's place in society 365 days of the year rather than drive people away for 31 days," said Cuthbertson.
"I'm not saying that a month off the booze isn't a good thing, all things in moderation of course, I just think the marketing teams at these charities should be a little more creative and take a longer-term view, maybe forfeiting a month's salary so they get a feel for the type of impact they're peddling," he said.
Try January tips from Charles Wells
- Why not try a loyalty scheme running a different beer and food match special each week and offering a prize when people have tried them all?
- Or how about running a beer and food matching night with a different beer matched to each course, and booking up front so you can plan and order effectively?
- Tying in with an existing event such as Burns' Night or Australia Day provides a solid theme to work on. You could host a Burns' Night event with different Scottish beers and whiskies alongside national dishes.
- Promote these events in your outlet during the busy Christmas rush for maximum exposure.
- Make sure there's plenty on offer for those who are abstaining from alcohol for the month, try creating some non-alcoholic cocktails with all the theatre people can't replicate at home to tempt people off the sofa and down the pub.
- Social media is a great way to promote involvement in the campaign to the masses for free! Make sure you use the #TryJanuary hashtag and keep a look out for brewery activity Charles Wells at @WellsBrewery, which includes news on some of the quirkier flavours like Wells Banana Bread Beer and ideal food matches.