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Alcohol and Millennials

Alcohol and Millennials – Generational Shift in Consumption

Millennials are often criticized for being lazy and self-absorbed. This is the group of people popularly nicknamed as the ‘selfie generation.’ Most people do not understand the amount of stress millennials face in their lives on a daily basis. Millennials have a great deal of financial, emotional, and political pressure, causing both anxiety and stress. As a result, many individuals in this age group turn to alcohol as a coping mechanism. Millennials are also exhibiting a new drinking behavior that is dissimilar to the older generations. This doesn’t mean that alcohol does not resonate well with millennials. People from all generations enjoy drinking, and they always have. However, instead of buying a six-pack of beer and going for escapades, millennials consume more on spirits and wines. The notions millennials hold about alcohol consumption are fast changing. Youth alcoholism rates have risen since this group feels isolated and lonely. Now there are even interventions for entering an alcohol treatment centers specifically targeting millennial alcoholism due to the rising issues in our society.

Millennials’ Alcohol Preferences

The alcohol preferences of millennials greatly contrast that of baby boomers and Generation X members. A case study conducted on millennials reported that most of them viewed wine and beer as a relaxing beverage. The study also reported that some viewed vodka, scotch, and other strong drinks as ‘sick.’Some millennials even felt that specialty cocktails were meant for girls only. In a party, most of them mentioned they prefer vodka and rum over other hard alcohol choices.

Alcohol Consumption Rates Among Millennials

A report done by a nonprofit wine council indicated that millennials drank almost half of all wine in the U.S. The report asserted that millennials drank up to 3.1 glasses of wine in every sitting. Women were also reported to be drinking more wine as they represented two-thirds of the high alcohol consuming group below 30 years. Millenials, who are between the ages of 21 and 38, consumed about 160 million cases of wine in 2015 (Atkin & Thach, 2012). This data gives an average figure of two cases per millennial. Not surprising, half of the millennials reported having shared their wine drinking on Facebook.

How Millennials Have Affected the Alcohol Industry

With millennials coming of age, the alcohol industry has experienced new shifts in alcohol consumption. The after working hours social drinking has become part of their lives. Interestingly, these events are shared on their social media feeds, which is a new change that had never been done before. These changes have forced industries to change tactics and strategies in both production and marketing. The industry is also growing exponentially in value and volume.

By studying the drinking behaviors and habits of millennials, the alcohol industry can capitalize on profit opportunities (Atkin & Thach, 2012). When choosing the next happy hour spot or after work beer, millennials look for specific characteristics before settling on one drinking establishment. They would seek an establishment that has well-informed bartenders, drink specials, and drink exclusives. Alcoholic brands are taking advantage of these shifting drinking behaviors and a high drinking affinity in social events to create higher valued brands.

A study was conducted that involved 500 millennials and their ideas and consumption of alcoholic drinks. Half of the older professional millennial population between 27 – 33 years reported to be drinking in restaurants. Conversely, only 8% of professional millennials reported consuming alcoholic beverages at home. At restaurants, 75% of this older millennial group reported that they enjoy ordering an alcoholic drink with their meal. This data presents a challenge in a society where most of the young people are into drinking. As they continue to enter into professional work and reach the peak of their careers, most of them would be earning a substantial pay which gives them the purchasing power to do as they please.

The U.S. alcoholic drinks market makes about $212 billion out of sales each year. Although millennials only make around a quarter of adults aged above 21, they still consume over 35% of the total beer consumption in the United States. As more millennials turn 21, the alcoholic beverages industry is always keen to scrutinize their drinking habits with a clear mind. Millennials also account for 32% of all spirit consumption in the U.S. All these statistics prove how millennials are defining factors in alcohol consumption within the United States. Most of them are now vouching for small batched drinks which are cheaper and easily accessible.

Millennial Alcoholism

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism states that young adults make up 31% of all alcoholics. Just like how parents and older generations drink at home after a long day, so do millennials. However, they drink more during the weekends and any other event that involves a good time. The craft beer and craft cocktails made today can create an even larger drinking culture and status than ever before. Today’s college-age kids take more alcohol, college students drink more, and even young professionals in the job market drink excess alcohol than previous generations.

Alcohol addiction has become a matter of concern among millennials. The symptoms of alcoholism do not depend on the quantities of alcohol taken every other day or the number of years a person engages in alcoholism. The question many people still ask is what has led to the quick rise of alcoholics among young adults. Letting millennials continue with their drinking habits citing a natural growth stage could lead to a lifelong problem of alcoholism or even death. Millennials show no significant signs of quitting their drinking habits, but it typically lessens over time.

Millennials are quick to tell the world about their drinking. Although they might drink alone, 50% of millennials share their experiences on Facebook, and another 33% are likely to share it on YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram. They use the internet to receive expert and peer comments about beer and liquor. Approximately 60% of millennials consider online alcohol reviews as extremely important as compared to 20% of baby boomers. The shift in buying behavior has changed how businesses operate all together. At the moment, Starbucks and even some movie theaters now provide wines. The development of online markets has also contributed to the rise in alcohol demand by creating a delivery service to help alcohol get to the consumer in less time. Innovation and technology have increased the access of alcoholic beverages among millennials. Consequently, these industries have taken advantage of this shift to maximize their profits.

Millennials are also value-conscious when it comes to purchasing alcoholic drinks. This is also evident in the way they do their shopping of other products. However, this does not mean they fancy mass-market beverages but instead go for small batched and handcrafted liquor. Millennials equate quality more than baby boomers do to a tune of 40% to 27% respectively. The popularity of wine among the younger generation has caused this sudden rise of ratios.

Millennials are also always seeking to experiment new flavors and new liquor. Although they seek quality, millennials are not excessively loyal when it comes to sticking with one brand. Millennials are indeed fickle. They are always seeking variety and a new flavor of wine. The average millennial wine drinker is reported to have the most varied taste of wine and alcoholic drinks in history. They have also been branded as an adventurous lot which is always out to try different things. At the end of the day, these millennials end up consuming more alcohol than the generations before them. This outgoing and adventurous nature exhibited among millennials translates to a higher intake of alcohol. Most will try out several drinks as a fun way of searching for the taste they will feel best satisfies them.

The presented statistics have forced the government to set up measures, programs, and institutions that will address millennial alcoholism in the twenty-first century. The rising concern among parents also prompted the idea of having alcoholic recovery centers to specifically target this population group.

Peaks Recovery centers is an addiction and dual diagnosis treatment center for the millennial generation situated in Colorado. For dual diagnosis, the affected individuals are treated for mental illnesses and substance use disorders simultaneously for the most effective treatment catered to an individual's needs. At Peaks Recovery centers, we help people build strong coping mechanisms that will maintain their sobriety down the road to recovery. The treatment is conducted in an accountable and public environment with trained and experienced staff ready to help along every step of the way.

Alcoholism presents adverse effects to the users. Excessive drinking can lead to a weak immunity, high blood pressure, stroke, brain disruptions, and even liver problems. If abused and consumed in excess, alcohol can even cause fatal side effects that are irreversible. If not controlled and regulated right at the beginning, a person can quickly turn into a heavy drinker. Changes in lifestyle, nature, and behaviors of these millennials coupled with technological advancements are significantly contributing to this aspect. Alcoholic beverage companies are also capitalizing on this sudden shift in alcohol consumption by providing even more variety and quality to acquire even more consumers. There is a need to set up recovery centers for this young generation which is tomorrow’s future. Peaks Recovery Centers is dedicated to providing long-term recovery treatment to millennials. At Peaks Recovery Center, families, and individuals are helped to overcome the adverse effects of alcoholism and live a more responsible life.