“Alcohol is part of our culture. It’s normal – for socialising and having a good time”. I think it’s fair to say that for a long time the majority of Germans would have agreed with that sentiment. For the country of beer and of wine – the latter might still be less known internationally but is still very much a part of Germany’s ‘drinks identity’ – alcohol has always been part of the fabric of life. However, there’s a new generation of Germans in town that seem to have a different view of alcohol.

According to an April 2022 YouGov survey among Germans, Generation Z is far less inclined to drink alcohol than older Germans. 49 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds said that they don’t drink any alcohol at all. Germans aged 45 to 54 are the least likely to abstain from alcohol (41 per cent), followed by the 35 to 44-year-olds (44 per cent). German youngsters also lead in the non-alcoholic league when comparing them with their European counterparts. The UK is at number two with 43 per cent saying that they don’t drink, while Switzerland and Portugal are at the other end, with 30 per cent each in that age group abstaining from alcohol.

Interesting, isn’t it? As a member of Generation X, thinking back over the ages between 18 and 24, I’d certainly say the German survey figures would have been different. Mind you, that’s mainly spoken from observation. I might be two letters removed generation-wise but at least when it comes to alcohol I seem to have something in common with the kids of 2022. When (almost) everyone started drinking in school, let’s say around the age of 16, I often was the only one sans alcoholic drink, simply because none of that alcoholic stuff was to my taste. Least of all the most common drink, beer, and that hasn’t changed. The bitterness. I just don’t get it. There’s things that have grown on me since. I do like a cocktail and certain long drinks, but at the same time, should someone say to me now, you’ll have to do without alcohol for the rest of your life, I’d just shrug my shoulders and say: fine, no probs. However, never ever threaten me with taking ice-cream away from me. But that’s another story…

Barbara Geier is a London-based freelance writer, translator and communications consultant. She is also the face behind www.germanyiswunderbar.com, a German travel and tourism guide and blog that was set up together with UK travel writer Andrew Eames in 2010.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Discover Germany, Switzerland & Austria.

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