Stats Behind the Gen Z Drink Trend That’s Not Going Away

  • We all know you know that Gen Z is drinking less alcohol than the previous generations. What are the main elements driving this change? How long do you expect it to continue? What categories of non-alcoholic drinks are generating the most sales? What are some creative ways that brands and businesses can make use of buzz-free drinks to satisfy Gen Z’s booze-loving needs?

Thirty-eight percent of Gen Z drinkers are buying more non-alcoholic beverages than the year before.

  • The popularity of non-alcoholic drinks has been growing rapidly globally since 2014. However, as more Zoomers become adults and develop their tastes, they have exploded in sales. A recent report on the 2022 drinking habits of consumers released by the world’s leading alcohol e-commerce site, Drizly, reports that 38 percent of Generation Z buyers are drinking more non-alcoholic drinks than in the past year. Compared to only 8 percent of Boomers, 15 percent of Gen X, and 25 percent of Generation Y.
  • The takeaway is that Generation Z is more willing and enticed than older generations to experiment with new and exciting beverages, in particular, those that conform with their values (more about that later).

A 166% increase in the quantity of non-alcoholic beverages in comparison to the year 2019.

  • The rising demand and the lower barriers to entry have also led to an enormous increase in the number of non-alcoholic drinks available across all categories of drinks. Drizly claims that there is a 166% rise in the amount of non-alcoholic beverages available that are available on its website in comparison to the year 2019. It’s not known which one first came out, whether it was the canned strawberry lime margarita or the one that is non-alcoholic; however, it is evident that Gen Z drinking habits are driving the trend towards no-alcohol through a constant cycle of growth and innovation.
  • The takeaway: With so many new and innovative products on the market, it’s simpler than ever to keep the attention of Gen Z with new non-alcoholic beverages.

As a category, alcohol-free is growing 4X more quickly than low-alcohol.

  • While the market for non-alcoholic drinks is vastly bigger ($2.77 billion instead of $331 million), recent Nielsen reports indicate that sales of non-alcoholic beverages have grown more rapidly over the past year (+33.2 percent) when compared to low-alcohol drinks (+8.1 percent). Since Gen Z is spearheading the non-alcoholic drinks trend and the rise of non-alcoholic beverages, these numbers are logical. Being a generation of internet natives, one of the primary factors behind Gen Z’s declining consumption of alcohol is fear of risk and the fear of having drunk behavior widely broadcast through social media.
  • Takeaway The alcohol-free drinks market is growing more quickly among Gen Z because it meets their specific need for a safe, enjoyable social drink experience, but also an ‘occasional’ treat.

Fifty-eight percent of Zoomers consider authenticity to be ‘ very crucial’ to brands.

  • Although big-name brands are continually offering large-scale non-alcoholic products, The real breakthrough in the NA drinks market is located in independent beverage companies making small-batch, craft, and flavor-based options. This appeals to the majority of Gen Zers who prefer lifestyles that are based on values and an affinity for authenticity and transparency, which smaller brands typically have to their advantage.
  • In this way, Gen Z is even more dedicated to their causes than the Millennials. The most recent McKinsey study of the significance of purpose in consumers’ purchase decision-making reveals that 58 percent of Zoomers believe that authenticity is ‘ very significant’ in their purchasing choices. It’s no wonder that many of the hottest up-and-coming non-alcoholic drinks are marketed with catchy slogans like “Created by plant scientists and bartenders” (Three Spirit); “What began in a kitchen in the woods is now leading a worldwide revolution-changing the way we drink” (Seedlip Herbal Elixirs) as well as “Shaken, not slurred” (Curious Elixirs mocktails that are ready to drink). Find out more about other noteworthy trends in the marketing of spirits in 2022.
  • It is also important to note:
    • The sales of non-alcoholic spirits have risen by 113.4 percent since the year 2020, exceeding growth for non-alcoholic beers (31.7 percent) along with wine (39.4 percent), as per Nielsen.
    • The sales for RTDs have increased by 400% since the beginning of 2019 on Drizly.
  • The lesson: Don’t be afraid to launch non-alcoholic drinks from independent brands, particularly RTDs and spirits. Gen Z places a high importance on exposing the latest and exclusive products.

Environmental and health-related concerns are the driving force behind 42 percent of Gen Z purchase decisions.

  • In addition to authenticity, trustworthiness, and environmental considerations are significant factors driving Generation Z’s buying decision-making. McKinsey states that 42 percent of Zoomers and 53% of Millennials consider recyclable packaging, products, and other initiatives and ‘no artificial ingredients natural, non-GMO/natural’ as being very important’ when making purchase decision-making. Non-alcoholic drink makers are responding by introducing innovative drinks made of an increasing number of plant-based ingredients that are functional and produced using sustainable packaging.
  • Summary: Both Gen Z and Gen Y are willing to pay premium prices to have healthier, more sustainable drinking experiences.

Don’t forget that it’s not always either. Moderation is the keyword in Gen Z’s new Gen Z Drinking Game.

  • For all ages, consumers of alcohol-free or low-alcohol drinks aren’t completely abandoning alcohol. 78% of non-alcoholic beer or wine consumers still purchase alcohol-based versions of their favorite beverages. If they are looking to avoid a buzzy evening out, they typically mention healthier lifestyles and declining consumption of alcohol as the top motives.

So what do you do next? Best Practices for Bars and Businesses Serving Gen Z Drinkers

    • Make sure to include interesting mocktails on the standard cocktails menu. With all the new options appearing, it’s easy to find one for any taste and budget.
    • Make sure to use local or regional-sourced ingredients when feasible. You’ll earn loyalty points from Gen Z customers for offering healthy, value-driven menu items.
    • Create something your customers won’t enjoy at home. For example, unique and eye-catching drink-top prints that are made of all-natural ingredients using the Ripple Maker!
    • Get your relationship started early by introducing ads and social media profiles. Always on the internet, this generation of digital natives will likely be seeking their next memorable drinking experience right on their phones or tablets; therefore, make sure they locate you.


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