New research shows that Gen Z are seeking out more experience-led events where alcohol isn’t always the focus
There is now strong evidence Ireland’s drinking habits are changing for the better, and people of all ages are drinking more moderately and less. Alcohol consumption is now at its lowest level in 20 years, having plummeted by about 33 per cent since the peak of 2001, according to data from Revenue. And Generation Z, people born roughly between 1998 and 2010, may be leading the charge in breaking some unfair stereotypes.
Drinks Ireland, in collaboration with cultural insights agency Bricolage, commissioned research that found young people are more mindful about their alcohol consumption. While many Gen Z’s will still have a drink or two, a big finding from the research is that social occasions are no longer always centered around alcohol.
There could be a number of reasons for this, but the research shows that Gen Z are more keen to try a diverse range of new experiences, rather than events solely focused on alcohol.
Gen Z is also hyperaware of how their drinking habits could be perceived online. The growth of platforms such as TikTok and Instagram, where your whole life can be documented to the world, means younger people hold themselves to higher standards. Gen Z has a new priority to present their best selves online, and that means drinking less.
“Sitting around makes for a dull Insta or Tik Tok post, inspiring Gen Z to focus on new and
engaging experiences,” the study explains.
Amplified by Covid and two years of restrictions, Gen Z are ready to get out there and have a good time. Young people are more focused on the great memories they can make than the alcohol they drink.
With this in mind, Drinks Ireland has launched their #MyDayMyWay campaign to explore how Gen Z socialise. The first theme is Better Socialising, With Alcohol in a Supporting Role, which highlights how socialising for Gen Z is now about enjoying diverse and authentic experiences, making quality connections, and learning and exploring their passions.
“Better socialising would be probably be something that doesn’t always include food or drink. More of an interactive experience, something that is memorable and something which would involve doing new things,” one Gen Z participant explained in the study.
With alcohol in a supporting role to an engaging activity, it breaks the monotony of socialising and allows everyone involved to take part in a comfortable, memorable experience.
In order to learn about how younger people are drawn to events and social occasions no longer centred on alcohol and more experience-focused, writer and podcaster Fionnuala Jay went along to a recent Drink & Draw event in The Grand Social. Events like Drink & Draw that still offer alcohol, but centre more engaging activities have become more popular among Gen Z, and Fionnuala found out why.
“I think the drink makes for a more relaxed atmosphere, especially when trying something for the first time that you might not very skilled at,” one study participant at Drink & Draw said.
“Events like Drink & Draw are great examples of the type of thing that resonates with younger people,” Cormac Healy, director of Drinks Ireland explains, “They have a chance to try something new, make some friends and connections, and have a bit of craic.”
“They can choose to have a drink, or not, but that’s not the draw for the event.”
“It’s a fun chance to do something that I do at home anyway, but also in a social environment, to meet new people and just have a fun time,” one participant explained.
“It’s not like a normal night out, it’s nicer,” another participant added, “It’s different, it’s refreshing.”
Gen Z are at a pivotal moment when it comes to their changing social lives. Campaigns like #MyDayMyWay can support these changes, and ensure that Ireland becomes a leader in promoting a positive drinking culture.
You can get involved with the #MyDayMyWay campaign directly here.
Please drink responsibly.
Elsewhere on District: EDEN is Ireland’s biggest pop star hidden in plain sight