Has alcohol lost its appeal among Gen Z? Countless articles over the last few years (such as this one) have made the point that drinking has become decidedly unpopular among the youngest adults. Past CivicScience studies have indeed shown that Gen Z adults were the most likely to participate in sober-curious viral trends, such as Dry January, and many were opting for cannabis products over alcohol during this time. In fact, cannabis use is huge among the youngest adults.

But before beer and alcohol companies pull the plug on Gen Z, the latest numbers suggest that alcohol hasn’t entirely lost its luster among young audiences. Here are three of the latest need-to-know insights about Gen Z and alcohol from the CivicScience InsightStore:

1. Drinking Is a Mixed Pastime for Gen Z

It’s clear from the data that alcohol has little to no appeal to a strong percentage of Gen Z drinking-age adults (aged 21-24). A total of 27% say they never drink alcoholic beverages.

However, Gen Z is a generation of diverse consumers. Gen Z adults who drink do so more frequently than older adults – 47% of all Gen Z adults (21+) drink alcohol daily to weekly. (Baby Boomer drinkers drink the least frequently, with 35% of all Boomers drinking alcohol at least weekly.) The data suggest that alcohol has a place among Gen Z culture.

As shown in the chart above, Gen Z adults who drink aren’t necessarily cracking open significantly more beverages each week. According to the latest data, the majority of Gen Z (61%) report they consume five or fewer drinks per week, which is close to Gen Xer (62%) and Boomer (59%) consumption habits. 

Instead, young Millennial drinkers aged 25-29 index as the most likely of all age groups to drink fewer than five drinks a week (at 66%). Although young Millennials report more regular drinking than older adults (44% drink at least weekly), the data indicate they are overall the most likely to limit the amount they drink.

2. Opinions on Drinking and Health & Wellness

With recent reports on the health risks associated with alcohol consumption making headlines this winter, CivicScience found that nearly 1-in-3 consumers who drink alcohol said they were reconsidering how much they regularly drink.

When it comes to opinions on drinking among Gen Z, more than one-quarter say they are ‘very concerned’ about the potential health effects of drinking alcohol. They are the least likely to feel ‘not at all concerned,’ tapping into other health and wellness trends and awareness seen among this generation. Older Millennials and Gen Xers, on the other hand, are the least concerned about alcohol’s health impact. 

3. Last Call? Alcohol’s Future Outlook Among Gen Z

So is alcohol consumption bound to decline as more people become aware of its potential risks and health effects? For some Gen Z adults, drinking alcohol is going the way of the cigarette – 23% say it will become less popular in the next few years, the highest percentage among all generations. However, nearly twice as many (41%) Gen Z adults believe it will become even more popular. Gen Z is the least likely of all age groups to think that the popularity of drinking alcohol will remain static, in stark contrast to Baby Boomers.

Those who never drink alcohol are significantly more likely than drinkers to think that drinking is bound to lose its appeal in the future, while those who drink 1-5 drinks per week are by far the most likely to think it will become more popular.

Meanwhile, nearly two-thirds of Gen Z adults say that non-alcoholic beer is going to grow in popularity and become more commonplace, compared to just 46% of Millennials and 19% of Gen Xers. The low- and no-alcohol movement has its greatest appeal among Gen Z, as shown in previous CivicScience data on interest in non-alcoholic beverages.

Overall, while many Gen Z drinking-age adults are still imbibing in alcoholic beverages, the data suggest this generation appears to be more split than older adults when it comes to attitudes and opinions on alcohol consumption. For a deeper look at what’s behind these trends, get in touch.