For the second year running, we are seeing various “charities” encouraging people to abstain from alcohol completely during January under the “Dry January” banner. What anyone chooses to do as an individual is up to them, and you would be deluding yourself if you thought your local pub would stand or fall on your custom alone.
However, by turning this into an organised campaign and actively encouraging as many people as possible to take part, it is effectively promoting a boycott of pubs at a traditionally slack time of year when they need as much support as possible. Which, of course, is the intention. The personal has been turned into the political.
One of the best things I have seen written on the subject is this article by Tom Sykes in which he argues, quite correctly, that staying off the booze for a month has its roots in guilt, not science, and a month of pub-friendly moderation would be far more of a genuine challenge.