With the start of each new year, there's a recurring wave of pressure felt on social media and in the news to 'beat that Christmas belly' or guides on how to create a 'new year, new you', culminating in fingers being pointed at ditching drinking alcohol for the month of January.
Dry January is a relatively new lifestyle campaign, coined back in 2012 by Emily Robinson as a health support for a marathon. Alongside many health benefits, their website states that 86% of it's members saved money across January by not drinking alcohol. That's great for their pockets, but not so great for the 1000s of industry workers, bar & restaurant owners, and small independents who are already struggling with rapidly rising costs.
Today Simon Rimmer announced the closure of his restaurant Greens in Didsbury after 33 years of trading (BBC News link).
He's not the only one - former Masterchef contestant Tony Rodd also announced today that he's closing Copper & Ink with immediate effect.
Restaurants and pubs are closing down in record numbers, particularly restaurants who have made it through the pandemic, taking on huge debts to make it out the other side, are unable to survive. Without us visiting these establishments, we're going to be left with empty high streets, with a depressing choice of either Wetherspoons or TGI Fridays.
Of course, the above isn't the fault of Dry January, it's the fault of a lack of action from the current government to support establishments such as these. I'll save that rant for another blog.
This year, I urge you to seek out a new haunt to visit, book into a restaurant you've had your eye on for a while, drop in for a stout at a taproom, or simply buy some cans from an independent off licence (we recommend Corks).
As an event company, we're used to operating a seasonal business, with our busiest period running in line with the warmer weather. We utilise this quieter time of year to repair and replace bar equipment, work on our summer drinks menus, and look at other services we can offer our existing customer base. Of course, we feel the pinch as we have little income coming in, but luckily when we don't have events, our overheads can be reduced significantly. The bars and restaurants don't have such luck, and in an effort to stay afloat, offer lunch special incentives to get bums on seats.
I look forward to seeing you propping up the bar at some hidden drinking hole in Bristol.