Moderate alcohol consumption becoming the new cool among millennial consumers

New global research into drinking attitudes of millennial consumers (aged 21-35) has revealed that self-awareness and staying in control are the motivating factors for moderating[1] alcohol consumption during a night out. 75% of millennials say they now limit the amount of alcohol they drink on the majority of their nights out. The popularity and reach of social media among this age group means that control of their self-image is paramount.

The research, conducted by trend-analysts, Canvas8, on behalf of HEINEKEN, polled 5,000 21-35 year-old premium beer drinkers in five countries[2]. It was commissioned to provide insight into the company's latest 'Enjoy Heineken® Responsibly' campaign, called 'Moderate Drinkers Wanted' - aimed at boosting the trend of responsible consumption.

The key findings:

 'Masters of their own universe'

  • 59% of millennials cite avoiding loss of control as the primary motivation for limiting alcohol consumption on a night-out.
  • More than one in three (36%) admit they have suffered from 'social shaming' caused by appearing to be drunk in a photo on social media.

'Future focused'

  • 88% accept that they are responsible for how their life turns out.
  • 69% feel they have to work harder for career success than their parents.
  • When it comes to finding 'the one', 97% believe that drinking excessively is not conducive to meeting someone and falling in love.
  • 71% believe that their life is better when they moderate their behaviour.

'Quality over quantity'

  • Taste (41%) and quality (32%) are the priorities when choosing an alcoholic drink
  • Price is key for one in five (19%), while alcohol strength is important to less than one in twenty (4%). 
  • The x-factor for a great night out is shifting, with millennials prioritising good food and friends over excessive alcohol consumption. They are also searching for 'new experiences' (49%) rather than the same old 'great entertainment' (39%).

'A moderation movement'

  • 38% state that they moderate their alcohol consumption every time they go out.
  • 75% of millennials limit how much alcohol they drink on the majority of their nights out.
  • More than half of respondents respect others' decisions to moderate without teasing or pressure.

Gianluca Di Tondo, Senior Director Global Heineken® Brand at HEINEKEN, said; "This study shows moderation is becoming an active choice for an image-conscious generation wanting to stay in control. Drinking responsibly enables millennials to shape their own reputation and to make the best of every opportunity thrown at them. Given the pervasiveness of social media for this age group the 'personal brand' is key, so it's increasingly about quality not quantity."

Goal Auzeen Saedi, psychologist and millennial behaviour expert, said; "Millennials have grown up in a period of rapid technological change, globalization and economic disruption. The result is their outlook on life is sharply different to previous generations.  They are dedicated to positive lifestyles. Drinking in moderation is one aspect of this, taking matters into their own hands, making positive lifestyle choices and attempting to make the best of every opportunity that is thrown at them."

Against this backdrop, HEINEKEN has launched a new Heineken® brand-led campaign entitled "Moderate Drinkers Wanted".  For the first time, women are at the heart of the campaign - empowered to encourage men to moderate their drinking on a night-out, in a light hearted way. By showing positive behaviour HEINEKEN believes it can help change consumer attitudes to alcohol consumption.

The new campaign builds on HEINEKEN"s long standing commitment to use its flagship brand to convey the 'Enjoy Responsibly' message.  In addition to investing 10% of the brand's media spend in dedicated responsible consumption campaigns, the message is also delivered through sponsorship platforms such as UEFA Champions League, Rugby World Cup and hundreds of music events around the world. The messaging also appeared on more than 8 billion bottles and cans in 2015.


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About 'Enjoy Heineken Responsibly':
'Moderate Drinkers Wanted' is part of 'Enjoy Heineken® Responsibly (EHR),' our global brand-led approach to promote responsible consumption, first launched in 2004. Whilst the Enjoy Heineken® Responsibly is the flagship of our commitments, we are of course promoting responsible consumption throughout our brand portfolio. As an industry leader, we believe we should lead by example, playing an active role in promoting responsible and moderate consumption of alcohol.
HEINEKEN employees are ambassadors for our responsible consumption agenda and, around the world, many markets have developed tailored activations to spread the message locally. We also work in partnership with many stakeholders to encourage responsible attitudes and to understand and address alcohol misuse.

About Moderate Drinkers Wanted;

The new TV commercial is the work of Emmy award-winning director Nicolai Fuglisg, and was shot in Los Angeles bars and the subway. The voices of the female stars in the campaign are used to sing the track.

Additional details available on request.


HEINEKEN is the world's most international brewer. It is the leading developer and marketer of premium beer and cider brands. Led by the Heineken® brand, the Group has a powerful portfolio of more than 250 international, regional, local and specialty beers and ciders. We are committed to innovation, long-term brand investment, disciplined sales execution and focused cost management. Through "Brewing a Better World", sustainability is embedded in the business and delivers value for all stakeholders. HEINEKEN has a well-balanced geographic footprint with leadership positions in both developed and developing markets. We employ approximately 81,000 people and operate more than 160 breweries in 70 countries. Heineken N.V. and Heineken Holding N.V. shares trade on the Euronext in Amsterdam.

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[1] Definition of moderation, for survey purposes: "Moderate drinking is when alcohol consumption does not hinder personal control."

[2] USA, UK, The Netherlands, Brazil, Mexico