Your Younger Attendees Are Changing Their Drinking Habits

Author: David McMillin       

A new report from Goldman Sachs carries an important lesson to keep in mind as you plan the budget for your next networking reception: Beer is starting to fall flat. According to a CNBC article, the banking giant downgraded the Boston Beer Company, the brewer behind Sam Adams, and Constellation Brands, which owns some well-established bar favorites like Corona and Modelo. “As we explored back in 2014,” wrote Freda Zhuo, chief analyst at Goldman Sachs, “we expected a cyclical rebound in total alcohol consumption post-recession.”

That rebound isn’t bouncing as high as brewers would like to see. Beer penetration has dropped by one percentage point in the past year, and the bank’s report indicates that some Millennials are turning to wine and craft cocktails instead. More importantly, though, it appears that an increasing number of young drinkers may not care about what’s offered at the open bar at all. A 2016 report from the U.K.’s Office of National Statistics revealed that Millennials are consuming less alcohol than their parents. Another report indicated that 75 percent of Millennials limit how much they drink on most of their nights out due to fears of boozy images popping up on social media. The Shine, a series of events in Los Angeles, has responded to the need for get-togethers without the buzz by offering alcohol-free environments with meditation, live music, inspirational storytelling, and healthy food.

While alcohol isn’t going to drop off the menu at major events and conferences, organizers may want to consider how The Shine’s model can cast a light on some new networking opportunities. From participating in yoga sessions to requesting vegetarian meal options to going on juice crawls (yes, those are real), more attendees are looking for options that replace hangovers with healthy lifestyles. Have you noticed any changes in the drinking habits of your attendees? Have you added any new health-conscious programming? Go to Catalyst to share your perspectives on how the events industry can build connections without so much booze.

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