The research also shows that the younger generation leads the way when it comes to growth of the zero alcohol category. Sales in the low and non-alcohol category have grown by 141% in the year to September vs the same period in 2021.
The younger generation is choosing alcohol substitutes to get into the party spirit rather than taking an all-or-nothing approach to the Christmas festivities.
While almost a third of respondents countrywide agreed that a zero-alcohol option is a good way of feeling involved when driving on a night out, it’s the 18–24-year-olds who’re actively trying to drink less when reaching for a Zero Alcohol drink, finds the research, with 30% doing so for health reasons or to avoid ending up hungover.
Zero alcohol beer and mocktails are the most popular beverages, with 18–34-year-olds opting for the fruity, easy to drink mocktails, which still let them feel a sense of celebration and get their party on.
Conversely the research showed too that a quarter of all Irish adults still can’t see any occasion where they would opt for the alcohol-free option; 56.5% of over 55s in particular claim that they wouldn’t drink an alcohol-free beverage. This was also the age group that felt the least confident to do this in the company of others taking alcohol.
The 35 to 44 age group said they’d feel the most confident to go 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 to skip alcohol, even if it meant a hangover-free day.
While Leitrim natives favoured 0% beer, counties Roscommon, Cavan and Louth favoured zero cider.
In Monaghan, Westmeath, Sligo and Offaly, No Secco was the non-alcoholic beverage of choice while Clare residents opted for Seedlip, the aromatic botanical mix that mimics the taste of Gin.
“The Irish market has seen significant growth of 11.2% in the low & no lager category this year” said Ken Allan, head of Beverage at Musgrave MarketPlace, “generating €22.4 million in sales to September this year according to CGA 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.”
The research shows that Gen Z have 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 wellbeing, so it’s no surprise they’re making waves and driving innovation and creation within this burgeoning category,” said Ken.
The research also revealed a surprising penchant among Gen Z (18–24-year-olds) for Bailey’s, with more than 20% of this age group choosing Bailey’s compared to just 15% of 35 year-olds.
Donegal, Offaly and Longford ranked top for Bailey’s fans along with 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 among the 25-44 age ranges, with Prosecco still the leading choice among the nation’s female drinkers.
Certain counties were found to be all about the fizz too with Dublin, Kilkenny and Wicklow the only places where Prosecco and Champagne ranked top for festive tipples, beating their creamy competitor.
Some regional variations were also revealed.
On the brisk west coast of county Galway locals prefer hot whiskey while Cork and Kerry natives are all about the mulled wine at this 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 the second-most popular choice for festive drinks.