Mindful drinking: a new generation.

Story by Mackenzie Grant

Sobriety is on the rise, and we have young people to thank.

According to Statista, 51% of Gen Z’s and 47% of Millennials in Canada planned to reduce their alcohol consumption in 2023. Only 34% of Gen X’s said they would do the same.

There are many reasons members of both generations could be scaling back on drinking. For Millennial college student Hayley Reid-Ginis, there’s a clear answer.

“I don’t enjoy drinking because I don’t feel like it adds any fun to an event. I like to be fully present when I’m in a social situation and be in total control of myself,” says Reid-Ginis.

The business world seems to be catching on to this generational change. Many non-alcoholic beverage stores, brands and bars have been opening across the country.

Vuong Nguyen and Sharmaine Betonio own Lemon Bar in Hamilton, Ontario. Lemon Bar is a non-alcoholic drink spot that features hand-crafted and globally inspired beverages. The pair are passionate about serving their drinks to the community.

“I started Lemon Bar because I noticed there was a lack of non-alcoholic options at public events and found that artisan mocktails are hard to find. Lemon Bar was inspired by the people, so our drinks are made for the people, and we serve all age groups,” says Vuong.

Lemon Bar isn’t the only place in the Greater Toronto Area that has pounced on the alcohol-free drink trend. Stores like Flourish and Bask in Downtown Oakville have dedicated their shop to zero-proof wines and liquor.

New brands are sprouting up with products that help facilitate an alcohol-free lifestyle. Ginny is a new “functional spritzer” that promotes health benefits beyond not containing alcohol. Their not-yet-launched spritzers will be infused with herbs and spices that help the body manage stress and promote brain function.

Adding health benefits to these beverages has gone viral recently on TikTok with trends like the “sleepy girl mocktail”. The trend has TikTok users mixing a carbonated beverage of their choice, tart cherry juice and magnesium powder together to promote better sleep. Some users claim to have had the best sleep of [their] lives because of the drink.

Sobriety is still a sensitive subject. Many assume sobriety is a symptom of addiction recovery or pregnancy, which may not always be the case. Younger generations are taking sobriety into their own hands. With non-alcoholic beverages gaining popularity on and offline, the stigma around sobriety will begin to decrease.