By Nicole Arends
Millennials are killing the binge-drinking trend
Meet the millennials – the generation of 20-somethings clad in vintage attire and accompanied by Snapchat filters, avocado toast and the latest MacBooks. You should’ve known they were dangerous when Forbes accused them of “killing Home Depot, Applebee’s and the convenience store” in 2014. Now, they’ve got a new victim in their sights. Spluttered on the front cover of Business Insider just last week reads the headline: “Millennials are killing the beer industry”. Yes, that’s right – data collected by the global investment bank, Goldman Sachs seems to indicate that “millennials are not drinking as much alcohol as older generations.”
Show that headline to any parent, and they’ll probably gasp in disbelief (albeit a relieved gasp). But, being a millennial myself I can confidently attest to this headline and will venture to make a bold statement: binge-drinking is just not cool anymore.
The times of The Roaring Twenties, Woodstock and disco fever have come and gone and in 2017 we’re faced with a generation of young people who seem to be shifting away from the binge-drinking fad. Of course, 20-year old clubbers and reckless drinkers still exist, but if we look at the generation as a whole the times seem to be changing and when it comes to binge-drinking millennials are just over it.
A lot of it may have to do with the “healthy and wholesome living” trend we’ve seen emerge recently. Everyone is gyming, vegan and doing yoga. Millennials have generally become far more health-conscious and it takes a single scroll through Instagram to see that living clean has become far trendier than a hangover and damaged liver. Social media has certainly played a significant role in the shift we’re seeing. Young people have a wealth of information at their fingertips and have become far more aware of the damaging effects of binge-drinking and excessive alcohol abuse. Although it may seem trivial, the effects of social media have a lasting effect on impressionable young minds. Bloggers and social media stars are promoting a culture of drinking smoothies and eating kale and many young people are following suit.
Millennials are becoming increasingly more aware of their reputation and the lasting damage an embarrassing night of blackouts and bad decisions could have. When you realize that you’re one shot away from a picture of you passed out on the floor going viral – that one shot starts becoming increasingly more bitter to swallow.
Our role models and the general public’s stance towards drinking has dramatically changed. Flashback to the early 2000s, where magazine covers donned the likes of Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton getting excessively drunk at excessively expensive parties. In 2017, a lot of that has changed and it’s become cool to be calm, collected and conscious. As the author of the novel Generation Z, Chloe Combi puts it: “If you were a 15-year-old lad in the 90s, you worshipped Liam Gallagher. Now, you worship Ed Sheeran.”
Furthermore, being a young adult today is miles different than 20 years ago. 20-year olds are moving out, buying cars and starting businesses and the professional landscape has never been more competitive. There’s a pressure to make something of yourself before what seems to be a looming expiry date. So, between juggling an internship, social life, classes and 100 readings – who has time to binge-drink?
This hypothesis is supported by evidence collected straight from my closest circle of friends. As university students, we’ve seen our fair share of debaucherous nights. However, in the last few years there’s been a steady shift. We’ve found ourselves favouring dinner and good conversation, as opposed to heavy drinking out on the town with the raging hangover that follows. Maybe, we’re outgrowing it. Maybe we’re past our clubbing expiry date. Or maybe blackouts and bad decisions just aren’t cool anymore.
Now, if you’re one of the late bloomers rather than trendsetters, and you’re hoping to get with the cool kids, I’ll share some tips to make sure you stay in style. Firstly – forget binge-drinking. You can still have fun, and indulge in the revelry of a few drinks that comes with being young. The secret is moderation. Put down the 50 shots of tequila, and opt for a drink or two of your choice. Your wallet and your liver will thank you for it. You know what else is cool? Accountability. It’s okay to let your friends know when one more drink is one drink too many and that way, you won’t have to carry them home at 4 in the morning. It’s also good to remind yourself that the joys of excessive drinking are always short-lived. The regrets, negative mental and physical health effects and bad decisions are never worth it.
Take a step back, breathe in the vegan, yoga-scented air and let’s party like it’s 2017.