“Pub January” is a movement to support pubs during the toughest month of the year for the hospitality industry.
“This has been a really rough year for beer,” says Jeff Alworth. Alworth is a Portland, Ore.-based writer, blogger and author of The Beer Bible, The Secrets of Master Brewers and other seminal books about beer.
In a post on his Beervana Blog on January 2, 2024, Alworth notes that breweries and pubs never fully rebounded from the Covid-19 pandemic, so while busier summer months usually compensate for slower winter months — of which January has always been the worst — this January might be particularly be hard on local beer establishments since they are not riding the high times of the preceding summer.
Alworth’s blog post and the idea of Pub January have spread, with supporters of beer and of pubs calling for people to support their favorite watering holes through the toughest month of the year. The social media hashtag “#PubJanuary” is now being shared along with photos of people at their local pub.
“Pub January doesn’t have to conflict with Dry January or anybody’s efforts to examine their relationship with alcohol,” says Alworth. “Go out and have a meal. Have something to drink — it doesn’t have to be alcoholic — with your friends and family.” For those wishing to abstain altogether, some have suggested purchasing gift cards for future use, which helps smooth the peaks and valleys of cash flow for pubs and restaurants throughout the year.
In addition to supporting pubs, Alworth wants to promote the idea of just getting out. “The truth is, we have a crisis of isolation in this country,” says Alworth. Post-Covid, many people have remained alone and isolated. But pubs’ purpose is “a place to hang out with friends. It is good for mental health and restorative to spend time out.”
“In fact, January is typically the deadest time of the year,” notes Alworth’s blog post. There are no corporate parties or formal family gatherings, so it is “a perfect opportunity to connect with friends. Enjoying other humans is good for your soul.”
“Help our friends out,” says Alworth, a sentiment that applies not only to the publicans worthy of support, but also to the people who may be suffering from post-holiday isolation.