McVeigh said like-for-like sales this month were up 4.5%, on top of a 3.5% rise during the Christmas period — and that it was wet sales driving the growth.
He said: “Food was definitely the driver last year but, in this quarter, it has been drinks and that’s especially true of January. “There has been a real sense this month that people do want to support pubs and that they will come if you take the opportunity to do something different.
“I have found customers really getting on board with Try January and seeing it as a way of feeling good about the fact they are ordering a beer in January.”
Among the initiatives trialled across the Draft House estate in January were beer paddles offering three third-pints for £5. McVeigh said the offer had been so successful it would now be a permanent feature, although the price point has yet to be set.
The company also offered indulgent Retox burgers and health-conscious Detox burgers during the month. McVeigh said: “Last year, we tried a Wetherspoon’s style 20% sale, which drove unit sales but wasn’t doing enough.
This year with Try January and the Retox/Detox burgers, it has caught people’s imagination.” McVeigh also told M&C Allegra Report the group had secured the lease of the former Bertorelli site on the corner of Fetter Lane and Plough Place, in the City, which is expected to open in April as Draft House Fetter.