The Gen Z generation isn’t into drinking, and that includes at shows. Research shows that Gen Z, born between 1997 and 2012, drinks less alcohol at concerts. It’s having a negative impact on venues, especially smaller ones, according to Billboard.
Specifically, venues that already have small profit margins are being hurt by Gen Z concertgoers who aren’t drinking. David Slutes is the entertainment director at the 325-capacity Club Congress in Tucson. He says he notices a 25% difference in money spent on alcohol compared to past generations. That’s a massive hit to venues that rely on alcohol sales to help pay the bills.
“Coming out of COVID-19, everything about the live music business was turned upside down,” Slutes tells Billboard. “We weren’t sure why the numbers were like this. Then we did a deeper dive, and at every event aimed at a Gen Z crowd, we saw numbers that were very different.”
Researchers have observed this trend of Gen Z not drinking alcohol for a while. Back in 2020, Texas State University professor of psychology Ty Schepis conducted a similar study. That research determined that 28% of college students from ages 18 to 22 didn’t drink alcohol in 2018, compared with 20% in 2002.
Speaking with Billboard, Schepis said Gen Z drinks less than older generations, in general. Furthermore, he explained that “this is a continuation of a trend.”
It’s worth noting that marijuana use has increased from 33% to 37% among college students. So, that’s one trend Gen Z is on.
The drop in alcohol sales comes at a time when small venues are trying to make up for lost revenue. Much of that lost revenue was a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. They’re also dealing with higher insurance and labor costs. To help make up for low alcohol sales, some venues are looking to make money other ways. Some ideas are venue merch, non-alcoholic drinks, food, and even CBD-infused drinks. Read the full study in Billboard.