Jersey City — Having a glass of wine after a long day or meeting up with co-workers for an after work happy hour has been a social tradition for ages. Yet, younger generations ranging from Gen Z, who are 21+, to early-age Millennials are drinking a lot less than their elders these days.
This burgeoning sobriety preference of younger generations has led to the portion of college-age Americans who are sober to rise from 20% to 28% in the last decade.
By default, the non-alcoholic beverage tech sector is on the rise. In 2022, non-alcoholic beverage startups raised over $414 million in venture capital funding – which is up over $200 million from the year prior.
With venture capital funding on an uptick in the non-alcoholic beverage sector, it’s safe to say that the market is adapting to meet the needs of generations who are inherently sober or sober-curious.
While mocktail and non-alcoholic beverage companies are in place to provide the look and feel of social drinking – without the boozy feel – most modern day mocktails are made with healthy ingredients (such as supplements and vitamins) adverse to just being sugary cocktail mixes without added alcohol.
While the reasons behind the overall sobriety preference among Gen Z and Millennials varies, some common themes behind the decision making include the fact that younger generations are more risk averse to common vices like alcohol.
This is due to the fact that they have had the ability to see the consequences of becoming dependent on said vices play out firsthand.
On top of that, younger generations have been able to research the consequences and share their thoughts on drinking through hashtags like #SoberTok. This has resulted in a community effort to remove the negative stigma around sobriety.
Moreover, the increasing legalization of marijuana has opened a new door for social activity for younger generations to explore that does not result in a hangover.
Keeping it gee, as the largest generation to date and in a generation in which everyone is not yet 21+, it will be interesting to observe how Gen Z may or may not continue to fuel the rise of mocktail startups.