The stats continue to roll in: Global alcohol consumption is down, younger imbibers are consuming alcohol less frequently than those age 45 and older, millenials claim to consciously limit the amount of alcohol they consume when going out… and yet, the slightly more upscale liquor and craft beer brands continue to exhibit growth, especially among the millenial crowd.
These numbers reflect an attitude shift worth acknowledging and absorbing: more so than any generation before them, millenials are approaching booze with a quality over quantity mindset.
Of course, this shift in youth priorities is but a chapter in the bigger “food culture merging with pop culture” story we’ve witnessed unfolding for years–but even still, as a regularly imbibing twenty-something, I was shocked to see the numbers. That is, until I realized that when I joke about drinking like a grandma (i.e. I typically drink a glass or two or red wine, a pour of whiskey, or a maybe a martini if I’m feeling wild before getting into bed at 9:30 pm), most of my peers laugh because they can relate… not because I’m funny. Even though I do regularly consume 1 to 2 drinks 3 to 4 nights out of the week, my mindset surrounding alcohol very much aligns with what seems to be contributing to a decline millennial drinking: I enjoy drinking wine and whiskey, but I don’t have the time to feel cruddy from it tomorrow, I don’t have the money to drink too much, and I don’t have the dexterity to do other things I want/need to do while inebriated.
So kudos to the young imbibers who are driving a more moderate and conscious approach to forming relationships with alcohol. Beyond developing a healthier societal understanding of and appreciation for cocktails, wine, and other alcoholic beverages, this can only spell well for our:
1. General Health
–Less wasted calories: Consuming less alcohol means consuming less nutritionally void calories from alcohol. Not to mention, reduced drinking also means reduced intoxicated, late night snacking.
–Hydration game on point: I am of the firm belief that hydration is the key to happiness. Since alcohol causes dehydration (i.e. hangovers), keeping it in check makes staying well-hydrated and happy easier.
–Mental wellness: Speaking of happiness… alcohol is a depressant and can definitely contribute to some low mood swings and serious mental fogginess, during and after consumption. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
–Sleep tight: For a lot of folks (myself very much included), consuming more than a drink or two in a given evening can cause serious sleep disruptions once you try to call it a night.
–This is fairly obvious: Less money spent in a bar or at the liquor store means more money for other things.
–But also: If you’re buying 1 or 2 bottles of wine per week instead of 3 or 4, you’re probably going to be buying slightly higher quality bottles… which makes for higher satisfaction levels and lower intensity hangovers.
3. Potential to Engage in Other Activities
–There are so many things you can do–solo or with friends–while sober [and not hungover]: Like drive places, exercise, go to a museum, work on personal project, buy new curtains, hang new curtains, see a play, see a movie, hold a baby, take piano lessons, etc.
–Being drunk as a recreational activity: Gets boring and does not serve points 1 and 2 above.
To summarize–millennials appear to like alcohol that tastes good and dislike being hungover. And we’re into it.