Wrapping Alcohol Awareness Month: The 7 Biggest Trends Shaping Alcohol in our Culture


As we close out Alcohol Awareness Month, it’s an opportune moment to reflect on the dual narratives shaping the current landscape of alcohol in our culture. Encouragingly, there have been some notable successes: 25% of adults completed Dry January this year, marking an impressive increase of over 50% from the previous year. However, despite these promising developments, overall rates of alcohol consumption have remained relatively stable, and alcohol-related deaths are escalating dramatically across all demographics. How do these trends align with your perceptions of alcohol use in our society?

Despite increased cultural awareness, rates of consumption are steady overall and alcohol-related deaths are at record highs

Our society’s perception of alcohol may be changing, but the reality is that our consumption of it, and the number of deaths from it, are alarmingly high and trending up. While young adults are showing some promising signs and drinking less than boomers, overall, because drinking has increased in the 55 and above group, we are sitting
nearly steady at ~65% of adults who drink. This is leading to historically high rates of alcohol-related deaths, which increased by 29.3% from 2017-2021.

Employees are gravitating toward work lunches over work happy hours

When it comes to alcohol and work, work lunches are establishing themselves as the new happy hour. 68% of workers said they’d rather socialize with coworkers during the workday compared to at an after-hours gathering, and 78% said that spending time over food feels more inclusive than bonding over drinks. Whether it’s a result of shifting cultural attitudes toward alcohol or changed social desires post-pandemic, the outcome is clear: employees are less interested in alcohol-fueled work events.

What can employers do with this? Consider partnering with cutting-edge companies like Absence of Proof which is bringing sophisticated non-alcoholic beverages to work social events. You can also join other leading employers in partnering with Monument to provide accessible and affordable treatment for employees, covered by your health plan.

The opening of the treatment paradigm to virtual and harm reduction

Virtual care for unhealthy alcohol use is ushering in a new era that recognizes that the majority of individuals with AUD who would benefit from treatment do not require in-patient care. And for many, this doesn’t mean having to give up alcohol altogether. Moderation is a noble and worthy goal that can be very effective in reducing the harms of alcohol. Through MAT (medication-assisted treatment) and therapy, permanently changing your relationship with alcohol is now highly accessible and affordable for the 38 million Americans suffering from AUD. This white space in the treatment gap is one of the driving insights behind the founding of Monument.

Rises in alcohol-related deaths are disproportionately impacting women

After decades of normalization, women are now drinking almost as much as men, and are facing rising rates of alcohol-related deaths as a result. Women’s alcohol-related mortality rose 14.7% over the last two decades, while men’s rose 12.5%. There are a variety of both social and biological factors causing this. As Dr. Peter Martin notes “it’s become more and more socially acceptable for women to drink as much as men,“ and as Dr. Lisa Ganjhu shares “they don’t need to drink as much as men to develop liver disease.”

Dry January record and reasons for optimism in youth data

The success of Dry January this year leaves a great deal of optimism moving forward. 25% of adults who typically drink successfully completed the challenge this year. That is up from 16% the year prior, marking a massive jump. And as mentioned, the drinking rates in younger generations are noticeably lower than in boomers. Specifically, 62% of those in the 18-34 range reported consuming alcohol – 10% points lower than boomers who were at 72% in the same age range.

Non-alcoholic beverages are here and thriving

The non-alcoholic (”NA”) beverage space is booming. So much so that the highest-selling beer at Whole Foods was a non-alcoholic beer made by Athletic brewing company. The days of “O’douls” being your only choice for an NA beverage are long over. We are seeing NA beverages that range from anything from mimicking the way alcohol tastes to those that taste nothing like alcohol and instead focus on things like adaptogens or other mood enhancers. RSVP for Monument’s webinar with Elizabeth Gascoigne, founder of Absence of Proof on May 7th. 

Behavioral changes from the pandemic are showing up in the data

Due to a variety of factors, we continue to feel the effects of the pandemic-led alcohol boom. A new study highlighted that the number of women aged 40 to 64 seen at a hospital because of alcohol misuse doubled during the pandemic. This comes as no surprise off the heels of reports that binge drinking among adults between the ages of 35 and 50 in 2022 was higher than any other year during the past decade.

About the Author

Zachary Rogers is an alumnus of the University of Michigan and Fordham School of Law, where he completed his Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree. He began his career at TechGC, an exclusive community for general counsels of leading tech companies and venture funds, where he launched and scaled highly curated industry-specific communities. Currently, Zachary serves as the Director of Growth at Monument, a digital health platform focused on treatment for alcohol use disorder. In this role, he spearheads initiatives across marketing, content, and partnership development to enhance Monument’s growth. He collaborates closely with the clinical team and external experts to produce insightful content that explores the impact of alcohol in our society. His efforts are also directed towards forming strategic alliances with benefits leaders, brokers, payers, and PEOs to integrate Monument’s alcohol treatment platform into employer benefits programs. Zachary is passionately committed to destigmatizing alcohol dependency and reshaping public perception through innovative educational content and meaningful partnerships.