The 'sober curious' trend: what is it and why's it on the rise?

Appeared on Cape Talk, 7 February 2023 by Tasleem Gierdien

Driven by increasing consumer demand for non-alcoholic products, the "sober curious" trend is here to stay.

In short, the "sober curious" trend is all about consumers asking for low or non-alcoholic products and drink options.

Recent data from IWSR (a corporation measuring the global benchmarks and insights for alcohol data and intelligence) shows that the no/low alcohol category value surpassed $11bn in 2022.

And the consumption of no/low alcohol is estimated to increase by a third by 2026.

Non-alcoholic content is also trending on social media with the following hashtags and views stats:

1) #DryJanuary: 85 million

2) #SoberCurious: 301 million

3) #Mocktail: 670 million

Some experts say that the "sober curious" trend also connects to other trends like people seeking out "elevated experiences" rather than drinking to become intoxicated...

"For many of us, drinking is all about enjoying flavours and unwinding and getting intoxicated is an unwanted by-product. Whether it’s health-related or wanting to stay engaged in conversation socially, more and more people are sober curious, at least occasionally." Lauren Butler, Co-founder - Yes Cocktail Co

Other experts say that the "sober curious" rise also connects to other trends like mindful drinking...

'People are reevaluating their relationship with alcohol, they’re understanding the impact alcohol has on their health or on their sleep and they’re making a conscious decision to drink less even if just for one night or a single round'. Scout Brisson, CEO - De Soi

So, who's driving this trend? Experts say it's youngsters... and those who want to live a "better for you lifestyle"...

'The 18- to 35-year-old demographic are spending more time than ever across social sharing platforms and building their own identity. We know that post-Covid consumers are spending more time being social, out with friends, but also want to capitalise on their free time with rewarding experiences like going to the gym and experimenting with things like mixology and cooking'. Karl Fielding, VP - Lyre

That's the low down on the "sober curious" trend. And it's a trend that has staying power, which means you're going to see a lot more "elevated" mocktail options on menus. With more people's desire for a more balanced and mindful lifestyle, it's no surprise that alcohol is not top of mind in an era where some are determined to "break generational traumas" - most of which come from painful histories with alcohol abuse.

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