Dry January Is Over

Alexander Boulden

Posted February 5, 2024

Dear Reader,

Can you believe January is over?

It might have flown by for some, but for me, it felt like a slog.

That’s because I was partaking in a little something called “Dry January.”

I’m still going strong, too.

My sleep is better, my workouts are better, and I’m never hungover.

Dry January has gained alarming popularity over the last few years.

That’s in part because the true harm from drinking even a small amount of alcohol is now being broadcast over social media, and people are paying attention.

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Like most things, COVID accelerated the trend.

The pandemic was a boon for alcohol companies.

In 2020, alcohol sales and consumption jumped the most in 50 years. I’m certainly guilty of contributing to this. During the beginning of the pandemic, I had cases of beer delivered straight to the house.

But along with that, according to NPR, “Deaths from alcohol jumped 25% during the first year of the pandemic.”

The old saying was that a glass of wine with dinner will help your heart.

Well, now research is showing that any amount of alcohol (even just 3–6 drinks a week) increases your risk of heart attack, stroke, and even many types of cancer.

The cancer part has a lot of people wondering if they’ve been duped by Big Alcohol…

So taking a dry month allows you to see the marketing side of alcohol more clearly.

According to a CivicScience survey, 27% of U.S. adults (aged 21 and older) participated in Dry January this year. That’s a huge number.

There are now a plethora of companies selling non-alcoholic or low-alcohol beer, wine, and spirits, including Guinness, Seedlip, Ritual and Spiritless. Some people are even opening zero-alcohol bars that serve mocktails. The only problem I see with these products is that I’m not going to spend the same amount of money on something that doesn’t have alcohol in it… but it’s an interesting concept that you can still enjoy the socialization, just without the nasty poison.

And drinking culture has really gotten out of hand in recent years. All the craft breweries and distilleries that are taking over our cities are becoming an eyesore. It’s become hip and cool to go out and overindulge in alcohol.

I went to Asheville, North Carolina, a few years ago and you couldn’t walk 10 feet without stumbling upon yet another craft brewery. The locals despise them because they take up prime real estate and don’t really contribute anything to the town except more drunks.

Right now, binge drinking equates to more than seven drinks a week for women and more than 14 for men, but that number will surely be revised lower in the coming years.

If we look at alcohol objectively, it doesn’t make sense to consume it on any level. First of all, there are no nutritional facts on alcohol, which would be super helpful, especially for people with diabetes and insulin resistance. It destroys the brain and body and your wallet. If you want to save money, like everyone should, you’ve got to cut it out. It’ll also save you medical bills down the line.

Now, you could turn to other options like seltzer, lemonade, or even soda. But you must be wary of the sugar content here.

Did you know that the original Coke recipe had wine in it?

Georgia pharmacist John Stith Pemberton invented Coca-Cola in the late 19th century. Pemberton wanted to invent something that he could medically patent, so he started by creating a headache and anxiety remedy. In 1886, he concocted a syrup by mixing coca leaves, kola nuts, and wine, along with other flavoring ingredients, in his backyard. The coca leaves gave it a distinctive flavor, while the kola nuts added a kick of caffeine. Add in the wine and Pemberton was creating a certified speedball. The resulting mixture was combined with carbonated water to create a fizzy beverage.

Pemberton initially intended the drink to be a medicinal tonic and called it “Pemberton’s French Wine Coca.” However, due to the prohibition laws enacted in Atlanta in 1886, which restricted the sale of alcoholic beverages, Pemberton had to modify his formula. He replaced the wine with sugar syrup, resulting in a non-alcoholic version of his concoction. See, taking alcohol out of drinks can lead to great things.

To market the new beverage, Pemberton’s bookkeeper, Frank M. Robinson, suggested the name “Coca-Cola,” emphasizing the drink’s key ingredients. The first sales of Coca-Cola took place at Jacobs’ Pharmacy in Atlanta on May 8, 1886, where it was sold as a refreshing and effervescent soda fountain drink for $0.05 a glass. It was obviously a smash hit.

However, even as the popularity of Coca-Cola grew, Pemberton faced financial difficulties, and he sold the rights to the formula shortly before his death in 1888. The brand continued to evolve under new ownership and eventually became perhaps the most iconic and widely consumed beverage ever. The Coca-Cola Company, established by Asa Griggs Candler, secured the brand’s dominance in the soft drink market and played a pivotal role in shaping the global beverage industry.

Now, modern Coca-Cola no longer uses fresh coca leaves in its formula. The original formula did contain an extract from coca leaves, which contributed to the beverage’s distinctive flavor. However, due to regulatory and legal concerns about the use of coca leaves, the Coca-Cola Company made a significant change to the recipe.

In 1904, the company began using “spent” coca leaves, meaning the cocaine content had been removed, to comply with regulations and ensure that the beverage was free of any controlled substances. The Coca-Cola Company worked with a company called Stepan Company to create a de-cocainized coca leaf extract. This process involves removing the alkaloids from the coca leaves, including the cocaine.

Since then, the Coca-Cola Company has continued to use a de-cocainized coca leaf extract to maintain the flavor profile while ensuring that the beverage is free from any controlled substances. The coca leaf extract used in Coke today is strictly regulated and closely monitored to comply with federal law. Coca-Cola is the only company in the U.S. that has access to this formula, which is why Coke tastes the best.

Sorry, Pepsi fans.

This isn’t to say you should switch from alcohol to Coke, but maybe consider them in the same category.

A Coke every once in a while is totally fine. But “every once in a while” for me means once a month, at most.

The crazy thing is you can buy Coca-Cola stock and get a 3% dividend, or nearly $0.50 a share. That’s how much the original Coke cost in the 1800s!

But if you’re morally or ethically opposed to that sort of investment, I don’t blame you.

We’ve got you covered.

Here are seven high-paying dividend stocks that we like better than Coca-Cola.

Stay frosty,

Alexander Boulden
Editor, Wealth Daily

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After Alexander’s passion for economics and investing drew him to one of the largest financial publishers in the world, where he rubbed elbows with former Chicago Board Options Exchange floor traders, Wall Street hedge fund managers, and International Monetary Fund analysts, he decided to take up the pen and guide others through this new age of investing.

Alexander is the investment director of Insider Stakeout — a weekly investment advisory service dedicated to tracking the smartest money on the planet so that his readers can achieve life-altering, market-beating returns. He also serves at the managing editor for R.I.C.H. Report, a comprehensive service that uses the highest-quality investment research and strategies that guides its members in growing their wealth on top of preserving it.

Check out his editor’s page here.

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