The trade is no stranger to headlines about younger people drinking less. And the latest intel from research firm Euromonitor International not only reaffirms this notion, but also offers some insights into what they are drinking, where and why.

Gen Zers, Euromonitor says, are causing a shake up in the alcoholic and non-alcoholic universes, “ushering in a new era of mindful drinking, sober curiosity and ‘dry’ venues and events”.

The company’s head of alcoholic drinks, Spiros Malandrakis, says that Gen Z – the generation born between the mid-1990s and early 2010s – has displayed a noticeable trend of reduced alcohol consumption compared to previous generations.  

“All major non-alcoholic segments were among the top performers in Euromonitor International’s latest alcoholic drinks system update,” explains Malandrakis. 

He points to no-alcohol beer, with sales registering 6% total volume growth in 2022.

“From non-alcoholic beer, already present and embedded in drinking culture for decades yet still witnessing an enviable 6% total volume growth for 2022, to the emerging non-alcoholic wine segment posting 9% total volume growth and from the double digit momentum of the relative newcomer non-alcoholic ready to drink (RTDs), to non-alcoholic spirits spearheading innovation and a pivot to functionality with a 10% total volume growth, this is all proving to be much more than just a passing fad,” he adds.  

According to Euromonitor, Gen Zers prioritise physical and mental wellbeing, often engaging in regular exercise and prioritising nutritious diets.

The research firm also says the younger generation place significant value on authenticity and experiences. “They are eager to engage in meaningful interactions, explore their passions and make a positive impact on society.”  

Euromonitor insights suggest Gen Zers often opt for socialising in environments that foster creativity, such as art exhibits, poetry slams or music festivals.

The cohort engages in outdoor activities, volunteer work or participates in clubs and organisations that cater to their diverse interests, the research company says.  

Gen Z is leading the way when it comes to “mindful drinking and sober curiosity, moderation initiatives, dry venues and events, no/lo focused retailers and a cornucopia of launches and innovation that is blurring the definitional lines between the alcoholic and non-alcoholic universes”, explains Malandrakis. “There is little doubt that the once niche trend is now established, evolving and yet still holds huge untapped future potential.  

“For younger cohorts who would historically be at the forefront of high energy occasions and high-volume alcohol consumption, the theme of moderation is also a key part of the ubiquitous ‘less but better’ premium mantra.”  

Looking at drinks trends, Malandrakis says: “Next gen euphorics, alcohol proxies and virgin extensions have come of age. New formulations are targeting a plethora of consumption occasions; functionality cues are increasingly replacing simplistic dealcoholising approaches and botanical alchemy and molecular experimentation with new ingredients is making the no/lo landscape one of the most innovative and exciting in the alcohol ecosystem. And it is here to stay.”