Dry January continues to get more and more popular each year with skiers and snowboarders across the globe and, most certainly, in North America. No, in this circumstance, we don’t mean a low month of snowfall during January. But rather, in its simplest terms, Dry January comes after you’ve partied away the holidays and now you plan to steer clear of alcohol for the entire month of January. If you haven’t taken part in Dry January yourself, you likely have friends who have or who are taking part this year. Or, perhaps you or some of your friends don’t drink at all, in which case abstaining from booze in January is no different than any other month.
Dry January actually originated in the United Kingdom, about a decade ago, when a nonprofit group called Alcohol Change started the movement with the goal of raising money for alcohol abuse awareness and treatment. What started with a few thousand people has now grown into a movement, with many people around the world hitting the pause button on alcohol for the month of January.
Taking even just a few weeks off of alcohol has many benefits, not to mention the benefits to your bank account, especially following the holiday season. And now many breweries, restaurants, and even ski resorts are getting involved. Below, we share a few recommendations of where you can go booze-free on a ski trip. While we focused on the beer world, many cocktail bars, restaurants and other establishments are serving non-alcoholic spirits, mocktails and even wine.
Meet Athletic Brewing Company
Athletic Brewing Company is one of the only dedicated non-alcoholic breweries in the U.S., and has two locations: Stamford, Connecticut and San Diego, California. “Our lineup of styles lets you enjoy the taste and experience of refreshing craft beer without sacrificing your performance, passions, health, or good taste. They’re fit for all times, made for all palates, and enjoyed by anyone who loves a great beer,” they say. While Athletic Brewing doesn’t have any taprooms located in ski towns, their non-alcoholic beers are widely available in grocery stores and at many restaurants, bars, and even other breweries.
Athletic began in 2017 when co-founder Bill Shufelt ordered what he describes as a flavorless, watery, metallic non-alcoholic beer one evening. Working in finance, soon to be married, and getting serious about fitness, Bill was searching for good non-alcoholic beers without compromising his lifestyle. Bill teamed up with John Walker, now the head brewer, and together they created a platform of craft non-alcoholic beers that, in their words, “even the biggest beer lovers would enjoy anytime, anywhere.” Its products have caught on and they just might get you through Dry January and beyond in the style you’ve become accustomed to if you’re a craft beer lover.
Among Athletic Brewing’s flagship beers is Run Wild, an IPA brewed with a blend of five Northwest hops that is only 70 calories. Others include Upside Down Golden, a balanced, light-bodied non-alcoholic beer with floral and earthy notes, and All Out Stout, a smooth and “soul-warming” stout with a toasty finish.
Athletic Brewing Partnership with IKON Pass Resorts
Athletic makes it easy for IKON Pass skiers. The IKON Pass is a product of Alterra Ski Resorts and they have partnered up with Athletic Brewing to serve some of Athletic’s non-alcoholic beers at a number of IKON resorts, including Big Bear Mountain Resort, Mammoth Mountain, June Mountain and Palisades Tahoe in California, Crystal Mountain in Washington, Deer Valley Resort and Solitude in Utah, Snowshoe in West Virginia, Winter Park Resort in Colorado, and Sugarbush and Stratton in Vermont. The partnership includes the “Funitel,” a fully branded 20-person gondola at Palisades Tahoe in California and special events at other resorts.
Non-alcoholic beer has come a long way
Athletic Brewing is certainly one of the non-alcoholic beer headliners, but there are others as well that have added the non-alcoholic genre to their product lists. Kit NA Brewing launched in 2021 in Maine and, shortly thereafter, the brewery’s flagship American Blonde beer was born. Another brew, On Your Mark, they say “is the embodiment of Kit’s commitment to making true craft beer without the alcohol – to be enjoyed by anyone at any time.”
Vermont-based Zero Gravity has launched a line of non-alcoholic beers, starting with an IPA, under the name Rescue Club Brewing Company. Wellbeing Brewing in Missouri has been offering a selection of non-alcoholic beers since 2017 including a coffee cream stout, dark amber and citrus wheat beer. Grab some for the Hidden Valley or Snow Creek weekend.
Non-alcoholic options at ski resorts
Many ski resorts across the U.S. are continuing to add to their lineup of non-alcoholic drink options beyond just non-alcoholic beer. Tommyknocker Brewery at Loveland Ski Area off I-17 in Colorado has introduced one of the first craft soda collaborations between a ski area and a brewery. The beverage has a strong orange citrus taste with a hint of vanilla. Snake River Brewing of Jackson, Wyoming, in the shadow of Jackson Hole Resort, offers up Snake River Seltzer, which is a sparkling hop water. This seltzer is a non-alcoholic carbonated water “that boasts the subtle aroma and taste of a blend of Idaho hops with no bitterness.”
Many well-known U.S. breweries are making their own non-alcoholic beers, too. 10 Barrel Brewing has partnered with Eldora Ski Resort with a non-alcoholic India Pale Ale coined NA IPA, offering the flavor of 10 Barrel’s full-strength IPA without the alcohol. In Oregon, Black Butte Non-Alcoholic is a non-alcoholic version of Black Butte Porter from Deschutes Brewery, located near Mt. Bachelor in Bend. Deschutes claims, “It’s so similar to the iconic original you’ll be surprised it’s not.”
Last year, Dogfish Head, a renowned craft beer maker located in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, partnered with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) for a year-long campaign to get beer and nature lovers outdoors. Called “Mother Nature, Let’s Do This,” includes a donation of at least $50,000 to TNC. Dogfish Head’s first non-alcoholic beer is Lemon Quest, a wheat beer, which is brewed with real lemon puree, blueberry juice, açai berries, and sea salt.
Dry January in Eastern Canada
Non-alcoholic beers are starting to get some traction in parts of Canada. In Eastern Canada, Stéphane Duchesne at his Magasin Général de Castelnau, in Montreal’s Villeray Borough, offers a wide-selection of zero-alcohol beer in its old-school fridges. Quebec craft breweries, such as BockAle, are banging out a wide range of zero-alcohol beers, ranging from stouts to IPAs to blondes. Pick up some after landing in Montreal or Quebec City before heading out to ski at Tremblant, Le Massif and Mont. Ste. Anne.
“What’s interesting nowadays is that you can purchase a non-alcoholic beer that has all the flavor and details of a craft beer and made only with four ingredients,” Sébastien Paradis, vice president of the Association des microbrasseries du Québec told CBC/Radio-Canada.
» » Check out lodging options in Quebec.
Finally, many breweries, bars and restaurants are selling and in some cases making their own kombuchas. Additionally, kombucha taprooms have started to open in recent years, such as in the Pacific Northwest. In Bend, Oregon, Humm became one of the first kombucha taprooms to open when it opened in 2013. In Portland, just an hour and a half from Mt. Hood, Soma Kombucha has several kombucha taprooms. We expect more taprooms like this will continue to open.