The days of pounding back beers at concerts could be fading into obscurity. Or rather, fewer people are buying less and less of the suds and that’s cause for alarm for venues everywhere. This new revelation is courtesy of a recent study that shows Gen Z concertgoers drink less while at a show.
For the longest time, venues have relied on beer and alcohol sales to boost their revenues. Yet according to Billboard, venues are noticing that the newest cohort of concertgoers simply skip the bar or partake very sparingly compared to their older counterparts.
David Slutes, the entertainment director at Club Congress in Tucson, Arizona, said the global pandemic played a role, but it didn’t tell the whole story as to why beer sales were down.
“Coming out of COVID-19, everything about the live music business was turned upside down,” Slutes told 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.”
Similarly, First Avenue Productions president and CEO Dayna Frank said she also noticed younger concertgoers not buying beer. What they are doing, she said, is partaking in a little bit of that devil’s lettuce.
“One of the big trends we’re seeing is that Gen Z doesn’t drink as much They’re either eating edibles before they come y what [venues] subsist on is beverages. That’s not going to be a sustainable revenue stream.”
Speaking of cannabis, the increased use of the plant compared to the drinking habit of Gen Z is a known quantity. A recent study conducted by New Frontier Data found that 69% of individuals aged 18-24 would rather use cannabis than drink booze.
This also makes sense when you compare it to the 2020 study that found 28% of college students didn’t drink in 2018, compared to the 20% that said the same thing two years later. With that trend likely continuing upward, maybe venues should consider opening areas outdoors for people to smoke weed — or maybe they start offering edibles too. Obviously in states where it’s legal.
Either way, times are changing and venues are going to have to adapt. But who am I kidding? They’ll just take bigger merch cuts before they do something sensible.