GEN Z: THE PENDULUM MAY BE SWINGING BACK

It is fair to say that when the Millennial Generation entered its prime drinking years, back in the early 2000s, they altered the alcoholic beverage landscape in dramatic ways.

They favored spirits and wine over beer, in ever-increasing numbers. But they also rallied the craft beer business from a period of anemic growth that had been hanging on for the better part of a decade. Their tastes and preferences were arguably the number one influence on the shape of the beer market that has emerged today.

And now, with adult Gen Z’ers in the early years of their drinking lives (ages 21-23) people are already wondering if this generation will have a similarly dramatic impact. Several industry experts and observers have cited data and more generalized evidence that this generation is less inclined to drink alcohol than were prior generations in this same life stage.[i]

Some new data from the Kantar U.S. MONITOR[ii] survey not only supports those indications, but the shifts it also portrays are starting to look fairly dramatic. In particular, Gen Z appears to be producing far less than its fair share of alcoholic beverage drinkers. Not only their behavior but their attitudes and values strongly suggest a cohort with far less affinity for drinking than any youth generation coming of age since we’ve measured these sorts of things. And of all the various beverage types, craft beer may be taking the brunt of Gen Z’s indifference.

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