Social Sober Movement:
For the baby-boomer generation, alcohol was a fact of life. Edina and Patsy’s champagne-soaked adventures in The Absolutely Fabulous BBC series, presents clearly the open attitude towards drinking. However, it seems that Millennials are eschewing boozy nights out in favours for other more sober hobbies. A study by Heineken reveals that young people are now drinking far less than previous generations, with 75% of millennials preferring to ‘drink in moderation’. The catalyst behind the switch from Cosmopolitans to Cold Pressed Coffee ranges from financial reasons to health concerns, to simply wanting to avoid a hangover.
With wellness becoming a key status symbol, Millennials are opting for social activities that help maintain a healthy, mindful lifestyle. ‘The Softer Image’ organise ‘high vibe’ parties that ‘heals you rather than drains you’. They advocate ‘getting wild without getting sick’ and ‘getting turnt while staying woke’.
Today, one in five young people is tee-total and nightclubs and pubs across the country are closing at a staggering rate.
The effect of this is being felt nowhere more than in Britain’s universities as students demand a more alternative campus lifestyle. The big influencer here is disposable income. For generation austerity, university is not all fun and games, for those beginning higher education post George Osborne’s £9,000 fees, alcohol (and hangovers) have become an unaffordable luxury. Young people now feel that alcohol makes social interactions less meaningful and that hangovers get in the way of their goals.
The ‘clean eating’ movement has had a big part to play on generation abstemious, one should now be ‘mindful’ of what one eats and excess is frowned upon.
Celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and her infamous site, Goop and bloggers like The Hemsley sisters and Deliciously Ella have played a big part in making whole food so fashionable.
This relationship can be linked directly back to social media and how this shapes young people’s attitudes to themselves. We are now, more than ever, what we eat - and drink. Young people are more fearful of loosing control, concerned that any pictures posted online will show them in a compromising state. This age group, often hit with increasing rent costs believe that the movement away from binge drinking improves not only their quality of life, but their financial health as well. They prefer to spend the little disposable income they do have on experience, good food and friends over excessive alcohol consumption. If this group are wanting to drink an alcoholic beverage, 41% of Millennials value taste and quality (32%) over quantity. There is a growth across craft beer and fine wine markets as Millennials take an interest in how things are made.
Millennials, look for authenticity and history when spending their money and drinking is no exception. Millennials like supporting businesses that have the power to make a difference in their lives. Tryingthe newest restaurants and pairing it with their favourite craft beer is the kind of drinking that Millennials are happy to get involved with.
In turbulent social times, some see this abstinence and moderation as a stepping stone to a more political rebellion. Alcohol is becoming culture not counter-culture and the real rebellion is to choose a more mindful lifestyle free from binge drinking.