Generation Z And Alcohol: How Can Brands Target A Generation That Doesn’t Drink?

Jan 15, 2024

Social Media Marketing News

Generation Z And Alcohol: How Can Brands Target A Generation That Doesn’t Drink?

Lil Jon famously once said, “SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS EVERYBODY”. However, upon reflection, perhaps he was only referring to Millennials and above.


Conversations with alcohol consumption at their centre tend to take precedence as the new year approaches, with challenges such as Dry January encouraging us to step back and take a look at how much alcohol we consume and why we do it. But the tides are turning and these month-long challenges are now becoming permanent lifestyle changes for more and more members of Generation Z.

Prioritising physical and mental health, Gen Z and alcohol consumption looks vastly different from that of older generations. The fact that it has decreased by a whopping 20% among these youngsters should be enough to highlight this.

But what are the other reasons and how will this affect the beverage industry moving forward? Read on as we dive into the mind of a Gen Z’er and the external factors pushing them to favour experiences and wellness over inebriation.


While previous cohorts often embrace drinking as a social norm, Gen Z approaches alcohol consumption with a lot more mindfulness and moderation. But what are the exact factors encouraging this shift?


Gen Z is shifting the drinking culture — here’s why they’re choosing sobriety and mindful living over the effects of alcohol #mocktail #alcohol #sobriety #genz

♬ original sound – nowthis

Health awareness

As glasses of wine are to Millennials, and tipples of whiskey to Boomers, wellness and physical health are the same to Generation Z. Being the most clued up of all the generations, they are well-informed when it comes to the detrimental effects of excessive alcohol consumption on one’s physical health. Who can blame them for wanting to steer clear of obesity, liver disease and other health issues?

Mental wellbeing

Going hand in hand with physical health, mental health consideration is high among Gen Z’ers. Recognising that excessive and prolonged use of alcohol can lead to depression, they, thus, seek to avoid it to enhance their mental wellbeing.

Social media influence

If not by alcohol, social media can heavily influence this generation. In turn, this makes trends towards wellness, mindfulness and alcohol-free lifestyles incredibly popular. Influencers and peers showcasing non-alcoholic alternatives and sober-social activities is an effective way to normalise these choices and encourage others to lean into their curiosity.

Financial considerations

Given the economic challenges Gen Z’ers are facing, it’s no wonder they wish to prioritise financial stability. Today, alcohol can be expensive and so this generation would rather opt for more budget-friendly activities and experiences. Which leads us onto our next point…

Desire for authentic experiences and connections

Gen Z highly values genuine connections and experiences. They recognise that excessive drinking can hinder authentic interactions and opt for sober socialising to foster deeper connections with others.


Sober curiosity on social media is quickly gaining traction, thanks to Gen Z and Millennial females. Through frequently sharing their alcohol-free journeys and their involvement in spaces that are typically for drinkers, TikTok hashtags related to NoLo and sobriety continue to grow. For example, #sobercurious has reached 822M views and #sobertok now has 1.8bn.

The explorative nature of these hashtags helps bring to light the trials and tribulations of sober curiosity and living an alcohol-free lifestyle; in turn, assisting many Gen Z’ers on their journeys. Other users, namely those outside of the sober curious community, can also contribute to these hashtag threads to assist with their integration into society, as seen here:


i practice sobriety but i am bartender and thus at a college bar frequently…. so here are my basic recs!! #sobercurious

♬ Forever – Single Version – The Little Dippers

All in all, the movement is widely accepted across socials, particularly on TikTok which, as we know, is where Gen Z spends most of their time.


We’ve established that Gen Z are the more sober curious generation. But what does this behavioural shift mean for alcohol brands looking to market to a generation who are less willing to drink alcohol?

First and foremost, acknowledging Gen Z as a sober curious generation is key to creating a long-lasting relationship with this particular consumer segment. Failure to do so runs the risk of losing their interest and input altogether. Instead, brands can lean into this acknowledgement by doing the following:

Partake in the NoLo trend

The term NoLo is derived from “no” and “low” alcohol and refers to the growing trend within the beverage industry that focuses on the production and consumption of low alcohol or alcohol-free beverages, including mocktails, zero alcohol beers e.t.c.

Leaning into the NoLo reflects a brand’s acknowledgement of the shift in relationship between Generation Z and alcohol, enhanced by the willingness to develop NoLo product lines.

Highlight health conscious ingredients

As previously mentioned, prioritising health and wellness is a key reason for Gen Z’s increasing sobriety. Brands can tap into this by emphasising the use of high-quality ingredients and their nutritional benefits.

This emphasis can be placed on both your alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages as a way of reassuring both your drinking and non-drinking consumers that you only use the best quality ingredients to produce your products. In turn, everyone’s minds are at ease knowing exactly what they’re putting into their bodies.

Engage with influencers who reflect Generation Z and alcohol’s relationship

Collaborating with influencers who embody the sober curious lifestyle of Gen Z is a sure way to engage this consumer segment and make them feel seen/heard; thus, increasing your chances of turning them into paying customers. Use personalities that promote mindful choices, emphasise the benefits of low or no alcohol lifestyles and create a connection with the target audience through authenticity.

Create inclusive social experiences

Revamp branding and marketing efforts to cater to Generation Z and alcohol choices by developing campaigns showcasing NoLo beverages as integral to a variety of social activities. Promoting inclusive and alcohol-free socialising is a beneficial way to foster a sense of community which these sober curious individuals can make themselves a part of.


I’m so grateful for my sobriety & recovery and got to walk with @The Phoenix for their “Phoenix MOVES” fundraising event️ ❤️ They are a sober active community who provides free and accessible sober programming ❤️ #thephoenix #1millionstrong #sponsored

♬ Healing Life – Alex Collier

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@ Socially Powerful


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Ella Proctor

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