Gen Z’s Impact On Post-Pandemic Alcohol Consumption

Where & how they spend their money is changing the industry.

There is a defined line between “pre-pandemic” and “pandemic” life. Everything as we knew it came to a screeching stop, as businesses shut their doors and people sought at-home entertainment options instead. However, the lines are becoming blurred as we move into “post-pandemic” life, especially when it comes to consumerism and the ways in which we purchase and consume adult beverages – – and no one is more influential in setting and keeping these trends than Gen Z. Because the pandemic set in during what would typically be the most social years of their lives, they quickly made being “socially distant” as social as possible. Rather than spending their prime locked in isolation, they influenced the market in new ways – ways so impactful that they don’t seem to be going anywhere any time soon.

Drizly, North America’s largest e-commerce alcohol marketplace, recently released their 2021 Consumer Report, in which they revealed many interesting findings regarding how people plan to purchase and consume adult beverages post-pandemic. Gen Z, fresh to the legal drinking scene, is making a distinctive mark on this industry, paving the way for post-pandemic alcohol consumption and deciphering which pandemic trends will carry on. 

The Consumer Report highlights a survey of “over 1,000 Americans of legal drinking age, independent of Drizly’s customer base, in late June 2021 on a range of topics, from their beverage choice inclinations for this summer and fall (and what influences those choices), to how newfound interests at home stand to impact consumption occasions and locations longer term, and how they are purchasing alcohol.”

The findings show that although the younger drinking population plans to return to restaurants and bars, they also plan to continue drinking at home, especially while cooking and while watching TV and movies, one of the reasons why being because it is less expensive to drink at home. And with the ease of online ordering, a result of the pandemic with which many became comfortable, the ability to enjoy beverages at home is even more stress-free.

Gen Z’ers are not only changing where they will spend a majority of their time drinking, but also what they will be drinking. The current drink of choice is hard seltzers, with Ready-to-Drink (RTD) cocktails and other canned beverages also gaining popularity and stealing a bit of the seltzer’s thunder.

But this generation doesn’t only care about convenience and cost; they are also considered “conscious alcohol consumers”, and they pay attention to their drink ingredients, how they’re made, and by whom. This younger generation focuses on health in most aspects of their lives, which translates into them also wanting to choose the most healthful option when it comes to adult beverages. Factors such as minority ownership, sustainable practices, and “healthy” ingredients are all important to Gen Z, as well as family ownership, size, and local ownership.

As a generation known for stating their beliefs and living by them, Gen Z is combining the best of the pandemic drinking scene with the more traditional one, and the market is hearing them – and responding.


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