Status: 18.09.2023, 06:30 a.m.
No party without alcohol? My ass! Young people are increasingly turning to alternatives. This zero-alcohol trend has a major impact on the market.
Mocktail instead of long drink, soda instead of beer: More and more young people prefer non-alcoholic beverages. The demand for noise-free alternatives has risen steadily in recent years. The trend even has a name – or rather two: Followers of "Mindful Drinking" and "Sober Curiosity" rely on a conscious renunciation of alcohol or drastically limit their consumption. In the meantime, there are even parties and events under the alcohol-free motto. But how is this increasingly present trend to be interpreted?
Why are young people increasingly abstaining from alcohol?
Pronova BKK conducted a survey among Generation Z in October 2021. It turned out that around 40 percent of those surveyed drink less alcohol for the sake of their health. These figures coincide with the results of a recent Spiegel survey, in which 67 percent of respondents stated that they consciously abstain from alcohol at times. 65 percent of them said they did so for health reasons. In particular, the group of 18- to 29-year-olds rated their current alcohol consumption lower than in the previous year.
Trend and futurologist Corinna Mühlhausen is not surprised by the results of these studies. "The health awareness of young people has never been so high," says the journalist. "At the same time, young people are not ascetic and all drink only water. On the contrary, they maintain a very hedonistic lifestyle. It should be fun to eat healthy, hence the high demand for non-alcoholic beverage alternatives."
Mocktails are no longer the only alcohol-free alternative. © IMAGO
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Sociologist: "The future of alcohol is alcohol-free"
Isabella Steiner has even made the topic of alcohol abstinence the subject of her book. "Mindful Drinking – sober, happy, hangover-free" is the name of the guide, which aims to accompany readers on their way to a more mindful life. The sociologist is of the opinion that many people reach for a high-proof drink out of pure habit. After all, drinking alcohol is firmly anchored in German society.
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"There are plenty of opportunities: the after-work beer to relax, the wine at dinner with friends, the champagne to loosen up on a date. And often we say yes without thinking about whether we want to drink alcohol at all – as if we all had a drinking autopilot," says the author in an interview with Der Spiegel.
Together with a friend, she founded Germany's first alcohol-free Späti in Berlin's Bergmannkiez. "At the end of the day, it's about our health. It is well known that alcohol can make you sick – even if it's 'only' the hangover the next day. Nevertheless, there is still a social expectation to drink something – even at a time when mindfulness and self-optimization are very important," criticizes the sociologist. Based on her own experience, she is convinced: "The future of alcohol is alcohol-free."
How does the trend affect the future?
The fact is that the demand for non-alcoholic alternatives continues to rise. Gone are the days when non-alcoholic beer was contemptuously referred to as a shallow broth. According to the Federal Statistical Office, the production of non-alcoholic beer has increased by 74 percent in the past decade. Holger Eichele, the chief executive of the German Brewers' Association, estimates that one in ten beers brewed in Germany will soon be alcohol-free. The wine industry is undergoing similar developments. The German Wine Institute writes on its website that sales of non-alcoholic wines in food retailing grew by 2022 percent in 18.
The trend has now penetrated into various market segments. From "sober sensations" parties to non-alcoholic offerings in the top kitchen, the trend towards a sober lifestyle is having an impact on society as a whole. Many large beverage manufacturers are now concentrating on the creation and manufacture of attractive drink alternatives. "There's a lot going on in the industry right now, and not all alternatives taste like grape juice anymore," Isabella Steiner sums up. Fittingly, the hashtags "Dry January" and "Sober October" go viral on social media every year. The goal is to abstain from alcohol for 31 days.
This article contains only general information on the respective health topic and is therefore not intended for self-diagnosis, treatment or medication. It is in no way a substitute for a visit to the doctor. Unfortunately, our editors are not allowed to answer individual questions about clinical pictures.