There’s an interesting trend in the alcohol industry. Though it once revolved around the idea of partying, forgetting worries and appearing more fun, the industry is shifting gears. Alcohol companies are now advertising products like low-alcohol vodka, marketing primarily to younger generations who are no longer so interested in getting “wasted” or “blacking out.”
KEEL Vodka is one new product in the world of low-alcohol drinks. KEEL Vodka has 23.8% alcohol, compared to traditional vodka products with 40% alcohol or more. KEEL’s creators say they wanted to build a brand as well as a completely new type of vodka. However, they also wanted to keep the reduced alcohol use of younger generations in mind.
People who enjoy KEEL’s low-alcohol drink feel it offers something new — they can enjoy a drink, but without feeling as if they’re getting drunk. KEEL isn’t the only brand to advertise and market the concept of lighter alcohol. Bethenny Frankel’s Skinny Girl cocktails helped pioneer low-alcohol drinks and also lowered calories for health-conscious drinkers.
These products seem to do well. Since KEEL’s introduction in 2016, it has expanded to 11 states in addition to the New England region where it was born and developed.
Low Age and Low-Alcohol Drinks Go Hand in Hand
People often think of younger generations as an age group that likes to party, but research is painting a different picture. Sales of nonalcoholic beverages and low-alcohol drinks are on the rise. At the same time, the beer industry is down.
In 2018, a report from Berenberg Research found that people in their teens and early 20s were drinking 20% less per capita than millennials. Millennials drink more than younger people, but they also drink less than older generations, such as baby boomers and Gen-Xers.
There are a few reasons for the changing trends in alcohol consumption. These include:
- Privacy concerns: Millennials and younger generations are used to seeing their lives all over social media. Heavy alcohol use can easily be uploaded to Facebook and Instagram, causing embarrassment as well as professional and relationship issues. The idea of losing control and potentially having it documented forever on social media isn’t something younger generations embrace.
- Health concerns: The health risks of alcohol use are more studied and well-known than ever before. Millennials and younger generations tend to be fairly conscious about the relationship between alcohol use and health, and they may rely on healthier coping mechanisms to deal with stress as a result.
- Financial concerns: Though the job market has improved, the cost of living remains high in many parts of the country. Millennial wages aren’t necessarily increasing alongside these rising living costs. These issues, combined with the student loan crisis, means that millennials are facing greater financial restraints. Money-related concerns may keep them from spending a lot at bars and restaurants or on alcohol they’ll consume at home.
- Sober concerns: Sober bars are also on the rise. These places provide a safe environment for people to meet and socialize without facing pressure to consume alcohol.
Historical Changes in Alcohol Use
Though millennials are often discussed when it comes to changing trends, younger generations actually show the biggest changes in alcohol use. Generation Z, which is the age group currently in high school and college, is drinking at lower rates than adolescents have in several generations. Binge drinking among teenagers has been on the decline since the early 2000s, but recent studies have shown a bigger decrease in adolescents today.
The Future of Alcohol Consumption
Researchers and officials believe declining rates may be a result of anti-alcohol outreach programs aimed at young people. Though alcohol use disorder remains a problem, the trends are positive for younger people’s views and actions, and brands are now being forced to meet these changing needs with products like low-alcohol vodka.
If you or someone you love is struggling with an alcohol use disorder, The Recovery Village is here to help. Contact us today to learn more about treatment plans and programs that can work well for you.
Coffey, Jeanne O’Brien. “Low-Alcohol Vodka Is a Thing—And You Should Try It.” Forbes, July 11, 2019. Accessed August 5, 2019.
Taylor, Kate. “Sales of nonalcoholic booze are on the rise—and it reveals a dark truth about social media surveillance culture.” Business Insider, February 14, 2019. Accessed August 5, 2019.
Mull, Amanda. “Millennials Are Sick of Drinking.” The Atlantic, April 2, 2019. Accessed August 5, 2019.
Klass, Perri. “Binge Drinking Drops Among Teenagers.” The New York Times, July 31, 2017. Accessed August 5, 2019.
Magee, Kate. “Drinks brands’ changing strategy to attract Gen Z.” PR Week, February 15, 2019. Accessed August 5, 2019.