Alcohol has been a big part of many people’s social gatherings for years – many of us can attest to a weekend with friends sharing a beverage or two but times are changing, and there is a growing shift towards a more health-conscious way of life. Now more than ever younger generations are looking for alternatives to beer and wine that provide a healthy substitute to traditional alcoholic drinks. But who’s leading the charge and what does this mean for the sober-curious who are just dipping their toes into the world of non-alcoholic beverages?
Read on to learn more about this growing trend and the benefits that can arise from leading a healthier lifestyle.
Changing thoughts around health & alcohol
The term “sober-curiosity” has been making waves since 2018, with many of us either taking the plunge into a life without alcohol or considering what it might mean to cut back. Can we really celebrate life’s special occasions without our favourite beer or a glass of bubbles? It turns out, many of us are already.
There is a growing trend not just in New Zealand, but worldwide where people are frequently opting for an alcohol-free beer or wine over an alcoholic alternative. In countries like France, people are ditching the booze altogether in favour of one of the nation’s innovative alcohol-free options. While this shift in alcohol consumption in France is most popular with people in their 20s and 30s, this new way of thinking is filtering down to older generations with people in their 70s now commonly picking up anything from alcohol-free gin to wine.
There is also growing awareness of the health benefits that can arise from choosing an alcohol alternative. Just one night of heavy drinking can be detrimental to our health with acute inflammation and irritation of the pancreas or liver some of the possible side effects of a night out. Many people are growing increasingly aware of the effects that alcohol has, especially when consumed in high amounts and are doing their best to make a positive change.
Alcohol consumption on the decline for Gen Z
A mix of outside and financial pressures along with growing awareness of health and wellness is resulting in today’s youth cutting back on what was once a right of passage. With this non-alcoholic trend on the rise and showing no signs of slowing down, you may be wondering – just who is leading the charge? This shift in thinking towards alcohol is coming from young people themselves with recent studies showing that alcohol consumption among Gen Z is on the decline.
A report from Berenberg Research showed that Gen Z drinks 20% less per capita than Millennials when it comes to alcohol consumption. Another report from Australia’s University of New South Wales also backs this trend, finding 44% of those aged 18-24 are drinking less than older generations. Rates of binge drinking among our own youth here in New Zealand dropped by more than half between 2001 and 2012, and have continued to drop since.
Part of the decline in drinking among Gen Z compared to any other generation is the need to be more cautious, both in terms of their health and how their peers perceive them. According to John Holmes, professor of alcohol policy at the University of Sheffield:
“In the mid to late 2000s, binge drinking was a way friendships were formed and solidified – experiencing the negative effects together was a key part of making and sustaining friends in adolescence and early adulthood, but Gen Zers are more likely to see drunkenness as unpleasant, uncool or uninteresting.”
This key shift in thinking signals a move away from drinking to socialise, with today’s youth increasingly aware of how alcohol could affect them. Quite simply, many Gen Zers are now ‘uninterested’ in this past time.
The health benefits of reducing our alcohol intake
There are many benefits, especially for our health when we reduce or stop drinking altogether. Choosing an alcohol-free alternative to beer or wine can work wonders for both our minds and our bodies, even if we only give up alcohol for one month. Here are 4 things that happen to your mind and body when you ditch the alcohol.
1. Improved liver health
Drinking any form of alcohol is bad for the body, in particular our livers as the human body isn’t made to process alcohol. So, when you consume large amounts of alcohol, your liver must work even harder to process it. By giving up alcohol, even for a short amount of time, this gives your liver a chance to recover and flush out any leftover by-products that were produced over time from alcohol consumption.
2. Weight loss
The sugar and carbohydrates that are in your favourite beer or wine can add up over time; if you’re drinking on a regular basis then the sugar and carbs that make your drink of choice so good, can quickly add up on the scales. By cutting down your alcohol intake, this is an easy way to control your weight and can even lead to weight loss.
If you weren’t already aware, alcohol is a diuretic which means that it makes your body dismiss fluids more frequently. If you’ve ever woken up with a hangover and dry mouth, this is the reason why! Simply swapping the wine for a water can work wonders to ensure that your body’s natural hydration levels are maintained. A boost in hydration also ensures that concentration and energy levels are maintained – both important for a productive day.
4. Mental wellbeing
While it can seem like the best time when you’ve had a few drinks and you’re out dancing with your friends, the effects of alcohol can actually have a negative impact, post that great night-out. Alcohol is a depressant which can affect everything from your mood to your energy levels. Taking some time away from alcohol gives your brain a break allowing you to think with more clarity, without the negative effects of alcohol.
The benefits of Wai Mānuka sparkling
Here at Wai Mānuka we understand how important it is to live a healthy lifestyle; part of living a healthy lifestyle is having healthy choices available to you. That’s why we’ve come up with a premium non-alcoholic alternative to sparkling wine, that can be enjoyed on any occasion.
Wai Mānuka sparkling combines the unique flavours of mānuka honey and lemon into a refreshing and revitalising drink that delivers on the flavour, without the hangover! Now enjoyed by many throughout Aotearoa as a delicious alternative to alcohol, there are many benefits of Wai Mānuka:
- 0.0% alcohol: Elevate occasions and events with a premium, healthier, non-alcoholic alternative to sparkling wine.
- No added sugar or colours: Pure New Zealand mānuka honey sourced from the Bay of Plenty and a touch of lemon ensure our sparkling water delivers the flavour, without any additives.
- Made in New Zealand: The taste of Aotearoa, proudly crafted in Whakatāne.
Right from the start our whāinga has always been to offer a precious gift from New Zealand that delivers the big flavours of Aotearoa, with no compromise on quality, flavour or health. Made with 100% pure ingredients, Wai Mānuka is an uplifting drink to be enjoyed on any occasion.
Want to try Wai Mānuka? From smaller 300ml bottles to our 750ml range, browse our products and shop online here.