An Alcohol Free Revolution for Millennials

Across the globe a trend is developing in young adults and it may be surprising to some. Reports from Australia, the United Kingdom, Japan, Germany and the US all agree – young adults are drinking less than ever before.

A ComRes poll in the UK showed that 1 in 4 young adults aged 16-30 don’t drink alcohol at all.

They would in fact rather be online than in a bar. What is behind this cultural change of an alcohol free revolution for Millennials and can we make it last?

alcohol free revolution

Nothing is Sacred

The proliferation of social media can take some of the credit. Young people today need to take into account the fact that pictures posted of them online can filter down to university admissions personnel, current and future employers and even governing boards for licensing.

No longer is it true that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas – a single night of carousing has the potential to derail an entire career path.

Too Poor to Drink

Also striking is that those aged 60+ tend to drink twice as much as those under 30. That can be summed up by economics. Not only do baby boomers have more disposable income available for drinking now- they also had more disposable income during their college days. With students facing record high tuition, rent and insurance rates along with the escalating cost of food – they simply do not have the money available to drink like youth of the past. Post graduation many are struggling to pay student loans while entering a competitive job market. They can’t risk jeopardizing their entire future over alcohol o they join the alcohol free revolution instead.

Refined For The Alcohol Free Revolution

Young adults are also better educated and more knowledgeable about their health. They read labels, they exercise and they are very conscious of what they are putting into their bodies. College students are more likely to be posting photos of the 5K they ran over the weekend rather than the party they attended. We’re seeing a cultural shift we have a generation who treasure their health. Instead of excess in the form of alcohol and other drugs they are fueling themselves with kale smoothies, they are going paleo and they have never felt better. In a way young people of today are elitists. Millennials aren’t guzzling bottom of the barrel keg beer.

They are foodies who have grown up with a sense of culinary adventure. They would rather spend their money on a Farm to Table culinary feast than pour that money down their throat for a drunken night of debauchery.

Their instagram feeds are proliferated with photos of cold pressed beet juice and grilled salmon. These are not the youth of yesteryear posting shots of tequila or their amazing keg stand.

Learning From The Past

Perhaps the youth of today have been influenced by watching their parents and grandparents. They have seen that alcohol isn’t the panacea that advertisers would like them to believe. The alcohol free revolution is due to the fact they are a generation of divorce, addiction, drunken driving, domestic violence, disease and more. In a way, they are jaded and hardened. Alcohol and other drugs have taken away their family and friends. It’s not surprising that many are wary of it and avoid the two headed monster alcohol can be.


In our alcoholcentric culture it could be easy to ostracize these youths for choosing to be different and walk their own path. We should, however, look at how we can foster and encourage these non-drinking youths. How can we contribute to making their shift the norm instead of the exception? Those starting this alcohol free revolution might be the trendsetters for tomorrow. That makes for a very bright future, indeed.

Annie Grace is regular contributor to New York Daily News and Mind Body Green.  She is also the author of This Naked Mind: Control Alcohol, Find Freedom, Discover Happiness & Change Your Life.