And this year, an ongoing “tripledemic” (flu, Covid, RSV), along with economic uncertainty for many, continues to pose challenges for New York’s usually robust nightlife scene. Morning Consult found that 73 percent of those embracing Dry January were forgoing alcohol to save money.
“There is always a slight seasonal downturn in January, but the situation has definitely been more fraught at this moment in time,” said Zack Kinney, a founder of Kings County Brewers Collective, a brewery in Bushwick, Brooklyn. “There is still Covid, inflation is higher, people are more sensitive about spending money, all those things are contributing to the tight squeeze on top of Dry January.”
Mr. Kinney estimated that beer sales were down 15 to 20 percent so far this month.
Instead of replacing two employees who left the brewery in recent weeks, he has asked other workers to fill in the gaps.“We are asking people to switch hats and do other roles including working on our delivery team or the packaging team,” he said. “It’s giving us a little bit of wiggle room.”
He is also finding other countries to export his beer, shipping it to China for the Chinese New Year and to Chile, where it is currently summer. “We are trying to find the opportunity somewhere in the globe where there isn’t a seasonal downshift right now,” he said.
At Interboro Spirits and Ales, a brewery and distillery in East Brooklyn, business has been slower “even than other Januaries,” said the owner, Laura Dierks.
Her business is taking a hit because her clients — other bars and restaurants across the city who buy her beer — are struggling. “If you don’t do well in the fall, and you haven’t been able to save enough money to pay your rent in January, then you’re in trouble,” Ms. Dierks said.
But Interboro is pivoting to reflect the demand; it is one of the city’s many businesses offering nonalcoholic beverages to appeal to a wider population, especially this month. “We did a test keg last month,” Ms. Dierks said. “People liked it, so we are going to do more.”