search burger
search ×

Generational sobriety: Gen Z and the relationship with alcohol

Non-alcoholic drinking is getting cooler. This is how Generation Z habits are changing.


A spectrum revolves around European food and wine excellence: the spectrum of Gen Z. The foundations of the agriculture ministries have not yet stopped shaking for the European green light to the possibility of eating insects that here comes another earthquake swarm: young people drink less and less alcohol. This was revealed by several surveys conducted by Mintel and International Wine & Spirits Research: a phenomenon that is growing strongly in England and France, from which Italy is not excluded. A shame too big for the PDO and DOCG of the continent. What are the causes? But above all: what does Gen Z drink?

Visualizza questo post su Instagram

Un post condiviso da Drinkaware (@drinkaware_irl)

Surveys show an increase in people who decide not to drink alcohol, about a third of those surveyed between 18 and 24. The post-work beers at the London bars of a pub seem therefore on the sunset: that this is the beginning of the crisis of the most solid institution in the Anglo-Saxon world, after the Crown? After the public houses, will it be the post-exam spritz?

It would not seem. There is a strong increase in the number of drinkers who give more moderation to alcohol consumption, limiting it to special occasions, preferring a more conscious approach: the remaining two thirds of the respondents, In fact, they claim to be concerned about the psychological and image effects of alcohol abuse.

Visualizza questo post su Instagram

Un post condiviso da 𝗣𝗲𝗻𝗻𝘆 𝗗𝗮𝗻𝗶𝗸𝗮 𝗮𝗸𝗮 𝗣𝗲𝗻𝗻𝗶𝗸𝗮 🧿 (@pennika_)

We talk about real hangxiety: to the well-known post-hangover physical symptoms, hangover anxiety adds a feeling of emptiness, embarrassment for the previous night, paranoia, which is tenfold thinking about the possible spread on social media of their lack of sobriety. A relevant aspect, which leads many Gen Z to completely avoid the consumption of alcohol.

Calories intake is another factor that affects the lifestyle of being alcohol free: 25% of young people avoid alcoholic beverages because of the source of unnecessary calories [1gm of alcohol is equivalent to 7 kcal, ed]. In this case, no distinction is made between drinks: attention to calories concerns both alcohol and carbonated drinks and juices, chosen if low in sugar.

Finally, the wallet also wants its part: a third claims to drink non-alcoholic drinks because it is cheaper than beer, wine and cocktails.

Visualizza questo post su Instagram

Un post condiviso da JEN HIRST | SOBER COACH (@jenleehirst)

The question arises: what does Gen Z drink?!

The market, as we know, is impossible to be caught off guard; it has immediately adapted to the demand for low-calorie drinks and fruit juices with increasingly refined tastes. Even the barmen thank, now intolerant to ginger ale mania and to every request virgin at the counter, or as you prefer to call them today, mocktail.

For those who do not want to give up gin and tonic, the French company JNPR has created a line of juniper distillates, 100% alcohol free and sugar free: according to their blog, the uses and benefits of their products seem unlimited! Staying in Italy, Sabatini Gin brings in the glass a more Mediterranean blend with Sabatini 0.0: sage leaves, thyme, olive, lavender and verbena, guarantee a journey through the scents of Tuscany.

Visualizza questo post su Instagram

Un post condiviso da Sabatini Gin (@sabatinigin)

In Italy, Trentino Alto Adige seems to be the locomotive region of non-alcoholic drinking, despite data from the ISS: the provinces of Trento and Bolzano are in fact among the Italian areas most affected by the phenomenon of binge drinking.

On the fruit juice front, there are those who want to reveal every secret of the apple: Kohl, a South Tyrolean company that has decided, citing the site, to "work apples as it is done with wine". Dozens of cultivars, known and rediscovered, that have nothing to envy to local wines in terms of pairings with food. Complete everything with an elegant and clean packaging: even the eye wants its part.

Still at the foot of the Dolomites, Feral is revolutionizing the world of fermentation, producing soft drinks made from beets, flavored with spices, wood and herbs.

Halfway between Trento and Bolzano, Myalcolzero provokes the wine sector of the peninsula, producing non-alcoholic wines, which do not give up complex and interesting organoleptic bouquets.

Visualizza questo post su Instagram

Un post condiviso da FERAL - Fermented botanical drinks (no-alcohol) (@feral_drinks)

The universe of soft drinks has also responded to the demand for new flavors. NO.AH, Italian startup, offers a gritty readytodrink, in can, with notes of chili and ginger, refreshed by the essence of mint.

Bevande Futuriste instead, focuses on three fundamental principles: "drink well, drink Bio and Made in Italy". The company from Treviso, in addition to a refined selection of cold green teas and organic juices, offers Prohibito, a range of natural essences, ideal for creating innovative cocktails. A taste of their products: butter syrup, red onion syrup of Acquaviva; essences with rhubarb, rosemary and cinnamon.

Visualizza questo post su Instagram

Un post condiviso da PROHIBITO | The New Way Of Mixing (@prohibito_mixology)

In the country where the supply chain is worth, from the vine to the glass, 20 billion euros, 81 thousand employed for 2300 companies (source Nomisma, 2024), the sober habits of Gen Z can sound like an alarm for an important Italian export sector. Nothing more distant: this trend has opened and will open up new entrepreneurial opportunities, captured by young startuppers able to intercept new needs, without prejudice.

Cheers! (everyone with what they want).



Illustration by Gloria Dozio - Acrimònia Studios