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Updated on April 4, 2023
4 min read

Gen Z Alcohol Trends & Statistics in 2023

Alyssa Hill
Written by 
Alyssa Hill
Written by 

Generation Z (Gen Z) is anyone born between 1997 and 2012. This makes them the youngest generation of adults in the United States. 

According to an article from Stanford news, some defining characteristics of Gen Z include:1

  • Highly collaborative and social
  • Values flexibility, relevance, authenticity, and non-hierarchical leadership
  • Developed an early facility with powerful digital tools
  • Has a pragmatic attitude about the work that has to be done to address inherited issues
  • Has a greater appreciation for diversity 

With this in mind, it’s no surprise that Gen Z is changing how we think about alcohol consumption. As they enter adulthood, Gen Z is beginning to shape the alcohol industry in unique ways.

Generational Drinking Statistics

Here are some statistics regarding Gen Z alcohol consumption:

  • 64% of respondents stated they believe they will drink less alcohol than older generations do currently2
  • Teens and people in their early 20s were drinking over 20% less per capita than millennials did at the same age2
  • Gen Z is more likely to prefer spirits (like vodka or gin) and wine than beer, making them the first generation with such preference2
  • 38% of Gen Z buyers are drinking more non-alcoholic beverages than in the previous year6
  • Gen Z is most likely to buy non-alcoholic drinks since it meets their needs for safe, social drink experiences6
  • 70% of Gen Zers nominate binge drinking as a “very risky” activity9
  • 41% of Gen Zers associate alcohol with “vulnerability,” “anxiety,” and “abuse”9

For other generations, research shows the following statistics:

  • Baby boomers are more likely to develop Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)3
  • Between 2005 to 2014, there was a 12.5% to 14.9% increase in older Americans who reported engaging in binge drinking within the past month3
  • Millennials also have a preference for spirits and wine rather than beer2
  • A 2021 study showed that people ages 35-54 are the most likely to drink alcohol4

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Why is Gen Z Drinking Less Alcohol?

Gen Z is drinking less alcohol than previous generations. This is because of the following reasons:

Health and Wellness Trends

Gen Z is more health-conscious than previous generations. One survey showed that 60% of Gen Z are looking for more ways to be healthier.7

As such, they're more likely to prioritize physical and mental well-being. This has led to decreased alcohol consumption among Gen Z. Short-term effects of alcohol use can include stomach pain, sore throat, and even throwing up blood. Not to mention the long-term effects of alcohol use.

They're more likely to choose healthier, non-alcoholic alternatives instead.

Rise of Social Media

Social media has become an integral part of Gen Z’s lives. Many are more likely to post about their experiences online than previous generations.

They're also worried they might post something embarrassing online if they get drunk8. As a result, Gen Z are more likely to abstain from drinking alcohol.

Increased Accessibility of Non-Alcoholic Beverages

The rise of non-alcoholic beverages has made it easier for Gen Z to enjoy a night out without alcohol. These drinks include:

  • Kombucha
  • Sparkling water
  • Mocktails

Overall Shift in Social Norms

Exposure to anti-drinking messages and campaigns has led to a shift in social norms among Gen Zers. 

For instance, alcohol consumption’s negative consequences are more widely known among Gen Z than in previous generations. This shift in social norms has led to fewer Gen Zs drinking alcohol.

What is Value-Conscious Purchasing?

Inflation is another factor that has led to decreased alcohol consumption among Gen Z. Value-conscious purchasing is a trend among Gen Z looking for the best value for their money.

Alcohol consumption is often seen as an expensive habit. As such, Gen Zers are more likely to choose cheaper alternatives. 

They also want to get the best value for their money. Drinking alcohol is often seen as a waste of money, so Gen Z is more likely to choose other activities instead.

What is Gen Z Doing Instead of Drinking Alcohol?

Gen Z straying away from alcohol doesn't mean they're abstaining from all "vices." Instead of drinking, they're turning to other activities such as:


Vaping is a popular alternative to smoking cigarettes among Gen Z. It uses a battery-powered device to heat flavored liquids, which are inhaled. Most vapes contain nicotine, which offers a “buzz” similar to alcohol.


Cannabis is becoming increasingly popular among Gen Z. Many states have legalized recreational marijuana, making it easier for Gen Z to access it.

In addition, research regarding the potential cannabis health benefits has made it more appealing to Gen Z.

Video Games 

Video games are a popular pastime for Gen Z. Many prefer to spend their time playing video games instead of drinking alcohol.

Social Media

Gen Z is known for being the most active generation on social media. They're more likely to post about their experiences online than previous generations. As such, this generation spends more time on social media than drinking alcohol.

The fear of posting something embarrassing online is also a factor that has led to decreased alcohol consumption among Gen Zers.


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Gen Z is a generation that is increasingly turning away from alcohol consumption. Different factors have driven this shift in social norms. 

As more of Gen Z's peers abstain from drinking, it has become more socially acceptable to do so. They're also adopting other activities as alcohol alternatives instead.

Updated on April 4, 2023
Updated on April 4, 2023
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