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Sipping the Future: The Rise of ‘Low and No’ with Gen Z

July 2023

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In recent years, a remarkable shift has taken place in the world of mixology and beverage culture: the rapid growth of non-alcoholic cocktails, or “mocktails,” particularly among the Gen Z audience.

Gen Z, known for their innovative mindset and health-conscious choices, is reshaping the drinking landscape with a newfound love for sophisticated, alcohol-free libations.

In this post, we will explore the factors fueling the surge of non-alcoholic cocktails and Gen Z’s unique relationship with this evolving trend.

The Stats

Sobriety is on the rise. Nine million people took part in dry January this year which has more than doubled since 2020. Young drinkers are drinking less than any other generation. And according to Drink Aware, adults aged between 55 and 74 were the most likely to report drinking alcohol at least once a week at 58%, whereas adults aged between 16 and 24 were the least likely at 30%.

The correlation with the rise of social media is equally interesting, with 49% of Gen Z claiming their online image is always at the back of their mind when they go out socialising and drinking.

With those stats in mind, it’s no surprise that there has been a 180% increase in the low and no market with its worth estimated at £450 million by 2024. Among 18-34-year-olds, more than half would be prepared to pay more for a high-quality drink.

Gen Z is the key demographic for non-alcoholic beverages, but why?

Health and Wellness Focus

Gen Z has shown a heightened awareness of health and wellness, valuing holistic lifestyles and mindful consumption. Gen Z has grown up with access to more information than any other generation, and they understand the health risks both physically and mentally that come with alcohol consumption.

With an increasing number of individuals opting for alcohol-free lifestyles or moderation, non-alcoholic cocktails provide a refreshing alternative. There is an army of emerging brands catering to this growing market, such as Seedlip, and Savyll. These innovative concoctions allow Gen Z to indulge in flavourful experiences without compromising their commitment to well-being, like Savyll with their alcohol-free cocktails!

Social and Inclusive Experiences

Gen Z values social experiences that foster inclusivity, where everyone can participate and feel involved. Non-alcoholic cocktails align perfectly with this desire for inclusivity, offering an opportunity for everyone, regardless of their alcohol preferences, to enjoy a sophisticated and exciting beverage.

The rise of non-alcoholic options at social gatherings promotes a more inclusive and diverse drinking culture.


Personal Expression and Social Media Appeal

Gen Z is a generation that thrives on self-expression and social media presence. Having grown up living their life ‘online’ Gen Z feel the need to be in control of their online image. Letting loose and drunken behaviour is seen as unpleasant and uncool. 60% of Gen Z’s recently questioned associate alcohol with the loss of control.

Non-alcoholic cocktails provide them with a platform for creative expression, as visually stunning and Instagram-worthy drinks take centre stage. Sharing beautifully crafted mocktails on social media not only showcases personal style but also inspires others within their network, amplifying the trend and fostering a sense of community.

Risk Averse

Gen Z is a risk-averse generation. Not only is alcohol consumption low for this generation, the same trends are seen with drug use and unprotected sex. Google research in 2019 showed 41% of Gen Z link alcohol to abuse and anxiety.

Whilst the hedonistic naughties saw binge drinking as a way to switch off, Gen Z is actively looking for new ways to relax and unwind. A new culture has emerged that de-normalises drinking. The new normal is fast turning to the ‘low and no’ market for their beverage choice when socialising.


Flavourful Creativity

Gen Z craves unique and flavourful experiences, and non-alcoholic cocktails deliver just that.

With a myriad of ingredients, botanicals, and artisanal techniques, mocktails offer endless possibilities for mixologists to craft complex and tantalising flavour profiles.

Gen Z’s adventurous spirit drives them to explore new taste sensations, experimenting with creative non-alcoholic concoctions that captivate the senses.

Sustainability and Ethical Considerations

Gen Z holds deep-rooted concerns about environmental sustainability and ethical practices. Non-alcoholic cocktails align with these values, as they contribute to reducing alcohol-related harm and promote responsible drinking choices. Additionally, the use of local, organic, and sustainable ingredients in mocktails resonates with Gen Z’s commitment to conscious consumption and planet-friendly initiatives. Keep an eye out for brands like Tenzing that are offering natural alternatives developed with plant-based ingredients!


The rise of celebrity endorsements and influencers has seen a huge shift in marketing strategies, with Gen Z more likely to buy something based on a social media recommendation or event-based marketing, rather than more traditional advertising.

With hashtags such as #soberlife and #sobercurious getting engagement and backing from celebrities and influencers, Gen Z is being invited into the low and no market by people they respect.

Gen Z accounts for a third of the world’s population, and they want brands that align with their values and beliefs. The meteoric rise of non-alcoholic cocktails among Gen Z is a testament to their evolving tastes, values, and desire for inclusive experiences. It’s important to define your demographic subsets and understand their values, morals and beliefs if you want your brand to resonate.

Embracing health consciousness, flavour exploration, social inclusivity, creative expression, and sustainability, Gen Z is shaping the future of beverage culture. As the demand for sophisticated, alcohol-free libations continues to soar, brands are rising to the occasion, crafting innovative with captivating non-alcoholic cocktails that tantalise the taste buds and empower a generation to celebrate life without compromising their values.

Get in touch today to find out more about our experiential services.

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