Ways to cut back but still enjoy January

Pie and 'Dry January'

"Dry January" is thought to have started in the U.K. around 2012 or 2013, encouraging people to give up alcohol for the month as a reboot after the holidays.

It’s been on the upswing for a while, and after the pandemic influenced a rise in day-drinking—either out of lockdown boredom or COVID coping (or both)—it seems to be more common. Pair it (pun intended) with “Veganuary” and the growth (also pun intended) of plant-based dishes, and you’ve got a health kick.

Personally, January is a month during which l look for moderation and comfort—moderation to acknowledge the indulgences of the holidays and ease back into my normal routine, and comfort because this month is dark and depressing.

First, let’s look at moderation. Rather than sideline booze entirely, there are low-or-no alcohol options to consider.

Breweries are getting on the bandwagon. The days of O’Doul’s non-alcoholic beer being the sole choice for beer drinkers are gone. Your favourite brewery may have a non or low-alcohol option, but there may only be one or two brews.

Enter Libra, a line of non-alcoholic craft beer. To paraphrase the company, Libra is about finding balance between being social, and being busy, between being fun and getting things done.

Stout, pale ale, IPA, Pilsner, it has it, plus a delightful Lavender Sage Cream Ale. Read my review of this collaboration with Serena Ryder.

Libra comes from Charlottetown and note, Kelowna’s Kettle River Brewing has also stocked up on a variety of non-alcoholic brews. Meanwhile, a wine option has emerged much closer to home, thanks to ONES+, the “only Okanagan wine without the buzz”.

And, of course, where else but the Okanagan would a seasoned winemaker work on perfecting non-alcoholic Canadian wine?

This brings me to comfort, and for that, may I suggest “Pie January.” With or without a glass of wine, beer, cider a cocktail or mocktail, vegan or not, sweet or savoury, why not a flight of pies this month? My suggestions, if you’re not going totally dry, are:

• Chardonnay with chicken pot pie

• Gamay Noir with tourtière meat pie

• Lager with cheeseburger pie

• Apple cider with apple and cranberry pie

“Pie January.” Let’s make it a thing.

Upcoming Events

Jan. 22, 27 and 28: Multiple venues in Vernon, Penticton, and Oliver. Get your tickets for the Okanagan Winter Wine Festival.

Jan. 18 to Feb. 9: Multiple venues cross the valley. Reserve a table or two at a favourite or new-to-you restaurant during Dine Around.

Jan. 28: Giant’s Head Brewing in Summerland hosts Summerland’s Finest Red Carpet Black Tie Affair.

Through March: Grizzli Winery in West Kelowna—Book an icewine tour, available daily.

If January doesn’t work for you, "Dry February" supports the Canadian Cancer Society. Learn more here. And then there is always "Sober October."

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

A creative thinker with more than two decades of experience in communications, Allison is an early adopter of social and digital media, bringing years of work in traditional media to the new frontier of digital engagement marketing through her company, All She Wrote.

She is the winner of the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association's 2011 and 2012 awards for Social Media Initiative, an International LERN award for marketing, and the 2014 Penticton Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Award for Hospitality/Tourism.

Allison has amassed a following on multiple social networks of more than 30,000, frequently writes and about social media, food and libations as well as travel and events, and through her networks, she led a successful bid to bring the Wine Bloggers Conference to Penticton in June 2013, one of the largest social media wine events in the world, generating 31 million social media impressions, $1 million in earned media, and an estimated ongoing economic impact of $2 million.

In 2014, she held the first Canadian Wine Tourism Summit to spark conversation about the potential for wine tourism in Canada as a year-round economic driver.

Allison contributes epicurean content to several publications, has been a judge for several wine and food competitions, and has earned her advanced certificate from the Wine and Spirit Education Trust.

In her spare time, she has deep, meaningful conversations with her cats.

She can be reached at [email protected]

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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