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How Gen Z’s Sober Curiosity Redefines Brand Engagement

By: D'Asia Lasala

Have you ever picked up what you thought was the newest vodka seltzer on the market only to find out that it’s 0% alcohol? Research is finding that Gen Z is a sober curious generation. This shift toward a more sober social culture means major changes and opportunities for the beverage industry.

The concept of sober curiosity is as straightforward as it sounds: curiosity about your alcohol consumption habits. This mindset allows us to take a step back and evaluate our connection to alcohol and question what influences us to consume it. The movement encourages us to recognize our drinking habits and helps us form better relationships with alcohol. It also takes the pressure off of full-on sobriety and gives us an opportunity to be more conscious about the decisions we make.

Staying sober was not always a concept that was up for consideration for most people. Sobriety has always been heavily associated with a history of alcoholism or other personal influences. Many elements of western culture heavily involve the glorification of alcohol. Wild parties in the movies, two people falling in love in a downtown bar, happy hours – our culture treats alcohol consumption as a rite of passage into adulthood. 

Gen Z, however, is rewriting the script about what it means to be sober. Young people today are becoming more risk averse, often for reasons related to societal pressure and the behavioral health crisis. They are taking action to be all more intentional about their experiences and making conscious decisions. Sober curiosity offers a chance to consider the impacts alcohol can have on physical and mental wellness without the pressure of eliminating alcohol from life entirely. By choosing to be sober curious, Gen Z embraces their freedom to personalize a lifestyle that reflects their values and beliefs.

The rise of sober curiosity isn’t just a passing trend; it’s a cultural shift that’s here to stay. As Gen Z’s purchasing power increases, adapting to their preferences becomes paramount for those in the beverage industry and potentially other industries whose main audience is adults. This movement allows brands that are typically very niche a chance to appeal to new demographics and showcase adaptability and innovation.

So how can you appeal to a sober curious audience? Here are a few suggestions:

Create a non-alcoholic product. Offer a fun option that is more exciting than traditional non-alcoholic beer. This can help the sober curious feel included and is also a great offering to have at events and occasions that predominantly cater to those that consume alcohol.

Offer health benefits they can’t refuse. Who says liquid courage has to be alcohol? For those that may drink to combat social anxieties, add ingredients that calm, relax, or benefit consumers from a wellness perspective. Examples include ashwagandha, lavender, magnesium, and even CBD.

Work with Gen Z influencers. Partner with influencers who fit into this demographic or have interests that may lead to sober curiosity. This makes the concept more personable and will set your brand apart from those that are following suit to increase sales. 

Create some mocktail recipes. Maybe you don’t want to go out of your way to create a new product, and that’s ok. Creating mocktail recipes meets the demand without the extensive effort of developing and promoting an all-new product.

Now that we’ve got you craving a delicious and refreshing non-alcoholic beverage, here is one of our favorite mocktail recipes featuring Bubly Lemon Sorbet Sparkling Water!

 

Sparkling Lemon Sunrise ☀️

Ingredients

  • 1 can of Bubly Lemon Sorbet Sparkling Water
  • 1/4 cup of orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon of grenadine syrup
  • Ice
  • Orange or lemon slice (for garnish)

Instructions

  1. Fill a glass with ice cubes
  2. Slowly pour the orange juice over the ice (it should settle at the bottom of the glass)
  3. Slowly pour in the can of Bubly over the orange juice and ice
  4. To create a gradient, carefully pour the grenadine syrup over the back of a spoon into the glass
  5. Top it off with your citrus slice to garish