Light Alcoholic Drinks Are on the Rise, According to a New Report

New research indicates that no- and low-alcoholic drinks are an emerging trend in the U.S.

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The rise of the sober curious movement has many people—particularly millennials and Generation Zers—questioning why they drink and what kind of effects alcohol is actually having on them. Now, according to Bacardi's 2020 Cocktail Trends Report, this growing movement may be contributing to an increase in the popularity of light alcoholic drinks. Yes, beverages with lower alcohol by volume (ABV) are becoming the most popular ones at bars.

"More and more people are choosing to enjoy a lighter drink for many reasons including lowering calories, trying something different, and a growing focus on mindful drinking," the report reads. "Low-ABV offerings are growing in sophistication and are seen as additions to a bar rather than a replacement for full-strength cocktails."

According to the report, online searches with the word "mocktail" are up by 42 percent, and 55 percent of bartenders in New York, Los Angeles, and London believe that the interest in consuming low- and no-alcohol drinks will continue to grow within the next year.

The report comes on the heels of Dry January, which has also seen some changes in recent years. Though one in five Americans once participated in the sobering ritual, according to a 2019 YouGov study, a 2020 report by YouGov found that fewer Americans were planning on doing Dry January this year. But it's not for the reasons you'd think. It's because, at least in part, Americans' commitment to lifetime sobriety has increased. According to the research, 33 percent of the adults surveyed said that they "don't ever drink alcohol," up from 24 percent in 2018.

Of course, we all know abstaining from alcohol entirely comes with a variety of benefits for our physical and mental health. So you might be wondering why someone who's interested in reaping the health benefits of sober living might drink a mocktail or a light alcoholic drink instead of just having a cranberry juice. But while there's still a stigma surrounding alcoholism, some people feel like there's also a stigma surrounding not drinking, as it often yields uncomfortable questions and can take a toll on one's social life.

"Being alcohol free can truly feel ostracizing," Celeste Yvonne, a mom who promotes sober living on her personal blog, wrote in a viral Facebook post in 2019. "It's strange to think that alcohol is the only drug that we have to explain NOT using. … Alcohol free is a choice that should not require an explanation, embarrassment, or fear of condemnation."

So, for those who want to comfortably socialize without the negative consequences of drinking, light alcoholic drinks just may be the answer.

Diana Bruk
Diana is a senior editor who writes about sex and relationships, modern dating trends, and health and wellness. Read more
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