Why millennials and Gen Z are helping lead the zero-proof drink surge


6th day8:55Why Millennials and Gen Z Are Leading the Zero-Proof Beverage Explosion

Lee-Anne Richardson says he hears from many young Canadians about reducing their alcohol intake, drinking non-alcoholic beverages, or choosing to drink more heavily.

Based in Dartmouth, NS, he is the founder of Sober City, a peer support group for people struggling with addiction.

Richardson found that millennials and Gen Z are making more informed choices about the negative effects of alcohol than their predecessors and are more open to a comprehensive conversation about mental health. I feel that

I think young people see alcohol as a way to exacerbate their anxiety and worsen their mental health problems.– Sober City Founder Lee-Anne Richardson

“They’re going to abstain entirely or cut back or do something like that because I don’t want to go down that road,” she said. I think they see it as a way to make their mental health problems worse.”

Lee-Anne Richardson has been sober for nine years. When she quit her drinking, she found it hard to find places to go and things to do that were alcohol-free, so she created a peer support group. (Lee Ann Richardson)

According to the World Health Organization’s May 2022 report on alcohol, harmful use can cause death and disability “early in life” in people aged 20 to 39, accounting for 13.5% of all deaths. are attributed to alcohol.

Non-alcoholic beverages can help some people who are abstaining from drinking or monitoring their alcohol use, but not everyone, says Richardson.

“It tastes and smells and looks so realistic that it might be a trigger, but overall they’re a really, really good idea, especially to help young people drink less or quit altogether.” And I think you are. ”

Gail Lynch, CEO of Toronto’s Zero Cocktail Bar, says millennials and Gen Z aren’t consuming alcohol like her generation in the ’60s and ’70s.

She also says the zero-proof market is growing to include a wide range of options.

“When I started doing this, I probably found three products on the market,” she said. “There are now over 200 on the Canadian market.”

Headshot of Gail Lynch, CEO of Zero Cocktail Bar in Toronto, Ontario.
Gail Lynch believes that non-alcoholic beverages will be around for the long haul as the market demands more and non-drinkers are accepted. (some good clean fun blogs)

when asked by 6th day Host Brent Banbury said that customers are most surprised when they try a non-alcoholic cocktail for the first time, and Lynch said people are surprised by how good it tastes.

“I wanted to meet my own needs, i.e. can I make my own drink? So I started doing some research and realized that maybe this could be done. “My friends tried the zero-proof cocktails and they loved them. We knew we had something we needed to bring to the market,” Lynch said. .

Watch | Is This The Golden Age Of Non-Alcoholic Beverages? | | About that

Is this the golden age of non-alcoholic beverages? | | About that

Mitch Cobb is CEO of PEI’s Upstreet Craft Brewing. He now has his own non-alcoholic craft his beer label called Libra.

After working in the beer industry for several years, Cobb decided to reduce his beer consumption after realizing it was detrimental to his health.

That’s when he realized there weren’t many zero-proof beverage options on the market.In 2020, he launched his first non-alcoholic product, which is especially popular with young people.

“We’ve really seen a demand for it within our staff and customer base. We’ve talked about millennials and Gen Z and we’ve seen a lot of trends,” Cobb said. Are you drinking less and focusing more on your health and wellness? We’re on to something and I really see a lot of potential out there.”

A photo of Mitch Cobb sitting in a chair and holding a can of beer.  Cobb is the co-founder of non-alcoholic beer brand Libra, and he of PEI is the CEO of Upstreet Craft Brewing.
Mitch Cobb is fully aware that people are calling non-alcoholic beverages a trend, but he believes it’s a sustainable movement led by Gen Z and millennials. (Ryan Williams/Unbound Media)

Cobb believes people of all ages are more informed about their health and wellness these days, but the difference with Gen Z and millennials is that they go out and do the same things they used to. I want to.

They still want the same social experience, but they don’t want to wake up the next day feeling sick.– Mitch Cobb, CEO, Upstreet Craft Brewing

“They want to go out and see their friends. They want to go out to dinner, but they don’t want to wake up the next day feeling terrible.”

Cobb calls it “a big change from previous generations” and says people were either drinking or not. problem, or pregnancy.

“It’s really kind of a change. There’s not such a hard line in the sand,” he said.

It’s a movement, not a trend

With hundreds of products on the market today, Lynch says non-alcoholic beverages are “absolutely” here, no longer having the stigma attached to support programs like sobriety and Alcoholics Anonymous.

“All of a sudden you hear words like ‘sober’ and ‘zero proof,’ and maybe those words are helping people change their minds,” Lynch said.

She said some people are now working through the pandemic feeling they are drinking too much and are looking for alternatives and support.

“One doesn’t have to be insane to be an alcoholic. But one could also say that the pressures of life are a little too much for me right now, and perhaps I should drink a little.” Maybe I’m overdoing it. Let me cut back on the alcohol, maybe there are healthier alternatives.”

Two cans of tonic with floral graphics sit next to glass bottles filled with drinks on a bar counter
London Brewing Co-operative has partnered with London-based organic grocery delivery company On the Move Organics to brew non-alcoholic ‘booze-free beverages’. (Provided by London Brewing Co-operative)

Richardson doesn’t believe the non-alcoholic beverage market will collapse because of what she calls an “Instagram-worthy” and “appropriate” branding aesthetic.

“I’ve seen how it’s grown over the last three years, so I really believe it’s going to stay here. It’s been growing steadily,” she said.

She feels that with more zero-proof options on restaurant and bar menus every year, younger generations will want zero-proof drinks in the long run, which will prevent it from becoming a fad.

“With the rise of non-alcoholic products and more sober-friendly spaces, it’s honestly helping everyone. “It’s a habit,” Richardson said.

Cobb said he’d heard a lot of people call it a trend over the past few years, but he believes it’s becoming more of a movement that originated in the craft beer industry and many of the same consumers. There is

“People, especially Gen Z and millennials, have grown up with very interesting packaging of craft beer, these very innovative flavors. increase.”

According to Cobb, it helps reduce stigma against not consuming alcohol, and it helps people feel more confident when they go out and share cans and flavors they discover with friends.

“Once people realize that they can go out and socialize and do what they want and they don’t necessarily have to consume alcohol, they should go back to consuming alcohol as before. will go away, especially with the new generation.”


Radio show produced by Mickey Edwards.



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