Irish Gen Zs are more likely to partake in an alcohol-free Christmas, research shows.
The research, commissioned by Musgrave MarketPlace, shows that the younger generation is leading the way when it comes to the growth of the zero-alcohol category, choosing alcohol substitutes to get into the party spirit, rather than an all-or-nothing approach to the Christmas festivities.
While almost a third of the whole nation agreed that a zero-alcohol option is a good way of feeling involved when driving on a night out, it’s only the 18- to 24-year-olds who are actively trying to drink less when reaching for a zero-alcohol drink, with 30% doing so for health reasons, or to avoid ending up hungover.
Zero-alcohol beer and mocktails are the most popular alcohol-free beverages across the nation, with 18- to 34-year-olds opting for the fruity, easy-to-drink mocktails, which still let them feel a sense of celebration and get their party on.
Ken Allan, head of beverages at Musgrave MarketPlace, said, “The Irish market has seen significant growth of 11.2% in the low- and no-lager category this year, generating €22.4 million in sales to September this year, according to CGA [Curren Goodden Associates] figures. Incredibly, our growth figure vastly outperforms the market, with the low- and no-alcohol category growing by 141%, year to date. This is due to on-trade trends, like consumers switching to non-alcohol options due to health reasons, as well as the introduction of several draught options in the category.
“Our research today shows Gen Z are really leading the way in terms of the zero-alcohol category, with an appetite for tasty, premium alcohol-free options that still allow them to feel like they’re celebrating and enjoying a special moment, or just letting their hair down, albeit in a non-traditional way.
“We know this generation to be unafraid of treating themselves with premium purchases, but who also look after their bodies and minds with healthier options – be that food, drink, and mental and physical well-being – so it’s no surprise they’re making waves and driving innovation and creation within this burgeoning category.”
Age Group Breakdown
Conversely, the research shows that a quarter of all Irish adults still can’t see any occasion where they would opt for the alcohol-free option, with 56.5% of over-55s, in particular, claiming that they wouldn’t drink an alcohol-free beverage.
This was also the age group that felt the least confident to do so in the company of others who were taking alcohol.
The 35-44 age group felt the most confident in going alcohol-free on a night out, but, interestingly, their intentions to do so this Christmas didn’t mirror this confidence.
When broken down by geography, Longfordians felt the least confident in skipping the alcohol, even if it meant a hangover-free day thereafter.
While Leitrim natives favour 0% beer, counties Roscommon, Cavan and Louth favour zero-alcohol cider.
In Monaghan, Westmeath, Sligo and Offaly, Nosecco was the non-alcoholic beverage of choice, while Clare residents opted for Seedlip, the aromatic botanical mix that mimics the taste of gin.
The research revealed a surprising penchant for Bailey’s among Gen Zs (18- to 24-year-olds).
More than 20% of this age group choose Bailey’s, compared to just 15% of 35-year-olds.
Donegal, Offaly and Longford ranked top for Bailey’s fans – as well as Wexford, Westmeath and Waterford – whereas prosecco pipped Bailey’s to the top of the nice list for counties Clare, Meath and Monaghan.
Fizz and sparkle (prosecco and champagne) were most prevalent within the 25-44 age range, with prosecco still being the leading choice among the nation’s female drinkers.
The research found that certain counties are also all about the fizz, with Dublin, Kilkenny and Wicklow the only places where prosecco and champagne ranked top for festive tipples, beating their creamy competitor.
On the brisk west coast of the country, Galway locals prefer hot whiskey, while Cork and Kerry natives are all about the mulled wine at the most magical time of the year.
Monaghan was the only county were American favourite eggnog ranked at all, while in Cavan, brandy is the number-one choice at Christmas.
Mayo, Meath and Wexford citizens are also partial to an Irish coffee, ranking it the second-most popular choice for festive drinks.