The number of people participating in Dry January has increased steadily since it was first introduced in 2013 by Alcohol Change UK, a British campaign group seeking to reduce the harm caused by alcohol.
The reasons people participate in Dry January are varied, but the good news is, the availability of flavorful non-alcoholic beer is now widespread. In fact, non-alcoholic beer is the fastest-growing segment of the beer market. Although the overall market share for non-alcoholic beer remains relatively small, growth of the segment was enough to propel market-leading Athletic Brewing Company to 13th position on the Brewers Association list of Top 50 U.S. Craft Brewing Companies based on volume (up from 27th position in the year prior).
The category has grown so much in both size and diversity of offerings, and consumer interest in non-alcoholic beer has increased to the point that there is now a recognized beverage professional training and certification program dubbed AFicioNAdo. AFicioNAdo beer certified professionals are trained in beer ingredients, sensory, production, handling, service, trends and distribution
Here are some of the best non-alcoholic beers for Dry January and beyond.
Founded in 2017 as a dedicated non-alcoholic brewery, Athletic is a market leader and has redefined non-alcoholic beer for craft beer fans. Athletic’s line up is now as broad as any other craft brewery, with beers from light lagers to hoppy IPAs to stouts as dark as Dry January nights.
Athletic beers can be found across the country and ordered online.
Sierra Nevada Trail Pass NA
Sierra Nevada Brewing is one of the nation’s largest craft brewers, built on the back of their category-defining Pale Ale and Hazy Little Thing, their hazy IPA. These beers achieved success due to Sierra Nevada’s high quality standards and their ability to deliver great taste without resorting to gimmicks.
In 2023, this craft beer market leader entered the non-alcoholic beer space by releasing its first two non-alcoholic beers under the Trail Pass brand. “Our innovation brewers have been working for years to perfect a flavorful, satisfying non-alcoholic brew,” says Lesley Albright, VP of Marketing at Sierra Nevada Brewing. “What they’ve developed is truly best-in–class.”
The Trail Pass line up consists of Trail Pass IPA and Trail Pass Golden.
There are few beers as globally iconic as Ireland’s Guinness Draught. And now there is a non-alcoholic version to slake the thirst of those choosing to abstain.
Guinness 0 is fully-brewed as alcoholic beer before having its alcohol removed by a filtration process. Guinness claims this creates a flavor more authentically similar to its flagship stout beer.
Although not technically beer, many beer lovers are also turning to hop water as a non-alcoholic alternative. Essentially, hop water is non-alcoholic seltzer with hops added for flavor.
No malt is used in making hop water, so the product is beer-adjacent, but for drinkers who love hops, they can find hop waters with all of their favorite hop varieties. Also, while many non-alcoholic beer can contain small amounts of alcohol (up to 0.5% ABV), hop water contains none.