Why Gen Zers Are Growing Up Sober Curious

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The sober curious movement has been rapidly popularized by Gen Z and younger generations. The rise of the alcohol-free lifestyle is already changing the beverage industry, and the reasons for this rise may surprise you.

Why Gen Zers Are Growing Up Sober Curious

For Gen Z adults, an interest in drinking alcohol seems to have dried up, according to recent American and European behavioral surveys.

It has been determined that young people of legal age:

  • are drinking less often
  • are drinking smaller quantities
  • have cut out alcohol altogether

Several factors can be attributed to causing this new sober curious movement, with its patterns of alcohol consumption that are so different from older generations’ habits around drinking.

Mindful Alcohol Consumption

There has been an increased interest among young people in being aware about what they consume on a daily basis.

This mindset has grown since the pandemic, with many young adults focusing more on improving and maintaining both their mental health and physical health.

A greater focus on wellness and making healthier decisions does not fit into the binge-drinking culture that previous generations like Baby Boomers experienced during their youth.

Specific social media influencers and trends, like the “Sobertok” movement on TikTok, have possibly contributed to the rise of mindful alcohol consumption among young adults.

Mindful drinking habits include:

  • limiting the amount of drinks consumed
  • opting for low-alcohol or non-alcoholic beverage options, like mocktails
  • temporary sobriety (like Dry January), or avoiding alcohol altogether

Financial Responsibility

Younger generations are increasingly aware of the value of their dollar, with 29% of Gen Zers and 36% of millennials citing cost of living as their top life concern in 2022.

Many Gen Zers also like to spend their money on products and brands that they’ve researched and share ethics they align with.

With more Americans in general budgeting for an uncertain financial future, buying drinks can be seen as more of a luxury purchase.

Gen Zers who are already experiencing sober curiosity may be even more hesitant to spend money on alcoholic drinks, which are an expensive additional cost.

Risk Aversion

On top of not wanting to spend what they don’t have, younger generations also are more likely to avoid risky situations in general.

The millennial and Gen Z generations have notably lived through intense periods of societal change, including recessions, increased costs, a pandemic, and decreased levels of privacy.

Most Gen Zers have not experienced life without smartphones and similar devices, and they are very aware of how easy it is to find their personal information on display online.

Because of this, some have opted out of participating in risky behaviors surrounding alcohol.

One specific reason for these alcohol-free lifestyle choices includes not wanting incriminating pictures to show up online, risking personal reputation and employment opportunities.

Another is avoiding binge-drinking situations where they experience a lack of control, which can increase the odds of an accident or health emergency.

Different Life Priorities

Younger generations, as consumers, have proven themselves to have strong values that are reflected in their purchasing patterns.

This includes buying products and brands that have ethics that they align with.

Since Gen Zers now make up about a third of the total adult population in the United States, the American economy has had to acknowledge these new buying habits.

The increase in adults opting for a low- or no-alcohol lifestyle is no exception. Today, we are seeing the market respond to these changes with different beverage options.

The alcohol industry has recently pivoted to making products that have less alcohol than most beer and wine options.

Alcohol-free options are also getting more creative. From sparkling water seltzers to mocktails, these modern alcohol alternatives are a sure sign of changing mindsets surrounding alcohol.

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