Office Christmas party

The boozy British Christmas party is one of those cultural norms in need of a refresh

People who choose not to drink at Christmas have long been referred to as the ‘Designated Driver’. The reality is, ‘not drinking’ or ‘drinking less’ this Christmas will have more to do with major cultural shifts in consumer behaviour than driving. It’s estimated that around 40% of UK adults are currently trying to moderate their alcohol, and a fifth of young adults don’t drink alcohol at all.

When I launched Caleño five years ago, I was intent on changing the world’s perception of alcohol and the idea that we depend on it to have a ‘fun’ night. Over the years, Caleño has worked on several campaigns that disprove you need alcohol to have a great night out.

One example included partnering with dating app Thursdays, when we invited 100 singletons to a dating event at a London bar. We plied them with cocktails all night in the name of ‘Dutch courage’ before revealing at the end of the night one very important fact – their cocktails had not contained alcohol, but Caleño instead. Much to their surprise, they had all dated sober. This social experiment proved that cultural norms within society can and should be challenged.

For me, the boozy British Christmas party is one of those cultural norms in need of a refresh. In recent years, boozy UK parties have earned themselves somewhat of a bad rep. ‘Partygate’ during lockdown resulted in hefty fines for MPs and negative PR, while large firms like PwC now appoint ‘sober supervisors’ during boozy work gatherings to avoid subsequent lawsuits. A string of high-profile cases among some of Britain’s biggest companies have resulted in a crackdown on boozy behaviour. When you combine the above with the fact that millions in the UK are trying to moderate their alcohol, and don’t want to be plagued with next-day anxiety, then it feels like an incredibly relevant time to reassess the upcoming ‘party season’.

My honest view is that we shouldn’t have to compromise. I want to go out and celebrate in November and December as much as the next person. We all know everyone in the industry needs it after the shocking past few years! I do believe though there is a happy middle ground called ‘moderation’.

The thought of suffering from a hangover after every big celebration in my calendar fills me with dread. The most recent large-scale celebration I attended provided water as only non-alcoholic option for the table. Of course, the alcoholic options consisted of red, white, rosé wine, beer, cider, shots… Needless to say a few hours in I had a headache and certainly wasn’t going to make it to the end of the night.

Caleño’s festive campaign this year ‘Good Vibes All Night Long’ is all about making sure you make it all the way through the party season, right through to New Year’s Eve. So, let’s raise a glass to letting our hair down and having some fun!