Millions of drinkers around the world plan to give up booze as part of the social phenomenon known as “Dry January.” However, Gen Z is ahead of the game. According to Gallup, only about 38% of young adults are regular drinkers, and adult beverage companies aren’t the only ones paying attention to this growing trend.
The tourism industry has also raised its glass to alcohol-free travelers. As the “sober curious” phenomenon grows, more people are opting to cut back on their alcohol use, especially while traveling.
“It is no longer commonly accepted that you need to drink alcohol to have fun. People have started to question this narrative, which is why we have seen an increase in demand for alcohol-free drinks and alcohol-free events and activities,” says Lauren Burnison, owner of We Love Lucid.
Burnison launched a travel company in 2018 focused on providing alcohol-free itineraries. “Adventure travel was such a life-changing and integral part of my own recalibration after getting sober that I felt compelled to share it with others.”
While baby boomers have slightly increased their drinking habits, according to Gallup, only 42% of millennials claim to drink. For Gen Z, the total is even lower, with only 21% drinking regularly.
Dry-Tripping Takes Flight as Sober Travel Soars in Popularity
A recent IWSR Drinks Market Analysis study shows the global market values non and low-alcoholic beverages at $11 billion.
Expedia, a leading global online travel agency, predicts that “dry tripping” will emerge as a significant trend among vacationers in 2024, and the travel industry is quickly adapting.
Nonalcoholic drinking travelers are realizing they no longer have to be content with water or sodas. They’ve found their voice when expressing interest in other options, such as mocktails, a term used to describe alcohol-free cocktails.
“I stopped drinking a while ago,” says Chhavi Agarwal, personal finance expert at Mrs Daaku Studio. “However, I often order a mocktail to feel more included in the social group. My favorite drinks are either an alcohol-free Mojito or a Virgin Mary. I love having a drink with my dinner, and mocktails are a great way to do it.”
Hotels and Resorts Around the World Are Taking Note
Research conducted on behalf of Expedia Brands found that 50% of travelers say they’d be interested in staying at a hotel that offers easily accessible alcohol-free options like mocktails or nonalcoholic beer.
“Hotels are rolling out delicious mocktails, adaptogen drinks, teas, and serotonin sodas,” says Melanie Fish, chief trend tracker for Expedia Brands, which has coined the term “Dry Tripping,” and luxury hotels are leading the way.
At Brenner’s Park Hotel & Spa, a 5-star accommodation in Baden-Baden, Germany, guests can savor a variety of alcohol-free beverages on the menu. The Mount Royal Hotel in Banff, Canada, and The Phoenician in Scottsdale, Arizona, mirror this trend. The global shift towards nonalcoholic drink options is not just a passing trend but is gaining momentum worldwide.
“We just returned from an all-inclusive vacation in the Dominican Republic, celebrating my mother’s 85th birthday,” says Adriana Copaceanu from Recipe Idea Shop. “We reserved the hibachi restaurant and ordered virgin Mojitos, Mango Tangos, and Pina Coladas because we don’t drink alcohol. We were able to celebrate and feel special without alcoholic drinks.”
Mocktails Over Cocktails: The Motives Behind Sober Travel
Expedia’s research also reveals one out of every four travelers mentioned their main reason for decreasing alcohol use on vacation is to stay in control. They also aim to improve their emotional and physical well-being.
“Wellness is a much more considered, integrated experience at hotels now,” says Rhiannon Jones, future forecaster at Kantar. “When people go away now, they want to come back feeling healthy and rested.” Wellness tourism is the fastest growing sector of the wellness industry.
Tiffany McCauley, owner of The Gracious Pantry, says, “I only order mocktails now because I’m kind of over drinking. I never feel good after having a drink, so I enjoy mocktails when I go out with friends. It still gives me that communal feeling of drinking with friends without feeling bad afterward.”
Other travelers cite religious beliefs for not drinking. “I always order a mocktail drink whenever I go to a restaurant because I don’t drink alcohol for religious reasons,” says Devy Dar, a frequent traveler and owner of So Yummy Recipes. “Eight out of 10 times, the mocktails I order are so good I often end up ordering more than one glass.”
Alcohol-Free Producers Leading the Way
Germany may be the leading beer producer in Europe, but it’s now brewing up a new batch of customers with its commitment to creating the finest non and low-alcoholic beer, wine, and spirits on the market. The country is also the leading producer of nonalcoholic beverages in the world.
Adrian Clausing, CEO of Bōzer Kater, known for producing Germany’s largest series of color-changing gins, attributes the decision to craft a new, nonalcoholic product to a growing interest in healthier lifestyles.
Rouven Richter, Co-Owner of BOAR Distillery, says he and his two business partners, “decided to craft an alcohol-free beverage so their expectant wives would have something to drink while others consumed alcohol.” The result is BOAR Zero, a nonalcoholic alternative that’s 100% distilled, and free of preservatives and artificial additives.
German vineyards are crafting alcohol-free wines, and breweries like Alpirsbacher Klosterbraeu export nonalcoholic beer to more than a dozen countries worldwide. While the percentage of sales is low compared to their alcohol products, there’s no denying the growing global appetite for these sober alternatives.
As long as the market continues growing, new product lines will emerge, and the sober tourism trend will flourish, with Gen Z leading the way to a healthier, alcohol-free lifestyle.
This article was produced by Media Decision and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.