And so to my annual Dry January column, for which the weather has kindly delivered sufficient rain to include my usual joke about the name's irony, given the amount of flooding sloshing about (do old jokes get better with age, like the wine I'm currently not allowed to drink?)

Dry January was the brainchild of Emily Robinson, who gave up alcohol one January to help her get fit for a half-marathon.

Robinson felt better, slept better and lost weight, so when she joined Alcohol Change UK in 2012, suggested they initiate Dry January as a national campaign.

A decade later, the number of people taking part has grown to a remarkable 8.5 million.

One factor helping has been the growth and improvement in alcohol-free drinks available.

A decade ago, alcohol-free offerings were, ironically, a rum affair: it was the metallic tang of Kaliber or sticking to the cranberry juice.

These days, there are a whole range of brands available. That's partly due to the drinks industry responding to the growing demand for such products, driven by younger generations drinking less than us middle-aged soaks.

The shift in beer tastes helps too: pale ales and west coast IPAs are easier to recalibrate with a hefty dose of citrus and other flavours.

Not everyone is happy at all of this. The somehow recently knighted Tim 'Wetherspoon' Martin has labelled Dry January a 'cult'.

Martin might be something of a cult figure himself, but he is not the only landlord worried about the trend: drinks sales in pubs are down by about a third in January.

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, claims that 90 per cent of pubs now serve low or no-alcohol beer, meaning that 'everyone can get down to their local this January, whether it's a dry one or not, and enjoy a cold pint.' This, however, is a bit disingenuous.

Last year, I wrote about the advent of Lucky Saint on draught, and how this could be an industry game-changer.

One year on, the number of bars stocking it in Salisbury has risen from one to, er, two. Most pubs do have now have an alcohol-free beer on offer, but they’re usually bottles rather than the cold pint that McClarkin promises.

And then there's the price: despite there being no duty, alcohol-free beer is rarely a cheaper option: some of this is because, yes, it can involve a more expensive process to make, but part of it is the drinks industry taking advantage.

They're not the only ones: supermarkets have quietly increased prices of non-alcoholic drinks by more than 20 per cent in anticipation of bumper Dry January sales. These days, alcohol-free is no longer small beer.