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Alcohol Consumption is Up, But So is Interest in Mindful Drinking

By Ian Andersen
Posted: September 15, 2021

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Sunnyside is a leading provider of tools to help anyone who drinks to build healthier habits. Tens of thousands of people are utilizing our system (try Sunnyside for free here) to reduce their alcohol intake, drink more mindfully and reach their wellness goals. Across the country, however, many others are drinking more than ever — but new research indicates that a sizable percentage of these people want to cut back in the coming months.

We recently partnered with Ipsos to survey U.S. adults about their drinking habits and plans. Our objective with Sunnyside’s first-ever State of Drinking in the US report is to shed light on evolving American drinking trends and to also understand how the growing mindful drinking movement might influence these trends.

Alcohol Use Remains Elevated

During the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic, alcohol sales shot up and various highly publicized studies indicated people were indeed drinking more than usual. That trend hasn’t abated. According to our survey, 80% of Americans report drinking the same or more alcohol as they were three months prior, and 25% report drinking more.

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Drinks are Spilling Beyond the Weekend

Drinking isn’t confined to Friday happy hours and Saturday night celebrations. A majority (54%) of respondents said they’re drinking three or more days a week. Getting more granular, almost a quarter (23%) of these people are drinking five or more days each week.

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People are Turning Up the Volume

It’s not just that Americans are drinking more frequently, they are more likely to reach for another and another (and another). On days when they do drink, nearly half of respondents (48%) say they imbibe three or more drinks, which is considered above the moderate drinking guidelines (1 drink for women, 2 for men) according to CDC guidelines.

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Drinking Alone? You’ve Got Company

A large majority of Americans are frequently staying in when they drink. Whether they’re alone or with friends and family, 82% of people say most of their drinking happens at home. A third of all people (33%) report that they have been drinking alone more frequently. But there’s a distinct difference in who’s more apt to imbibe alcohol alone (44% of men compared to 24% of women).

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People Are Feeling Wound Up

When asked to name the main reason for drinking, the most frequently cited answer — by a significant margin — was “to relax and unwind.” The second most common response was “to reduce stress or anxiety.”

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Drinking More Mindfully is on People’s Minds

While drinking is up, many people say they are ready to make some changes. In the next three months, 47% of people plan to try to drink less alcohol or establish healthier habits. 

One highly effective way to build healthier habits is through mindful drinking, which centers on being more thoughtful about how much you’re drinking and more aware of why you’re drinking. Research shows that establishing healthier, more mindful habits around alcohol can result in better sleep, reduced anxiety, and an improved sense of overall well-being. And it’s a movement that’s gaining significant steam. In fact, 39% of people have considered mindful drinking.  

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About this report

These are the findings of a Sunnyside / Ipsos poll conducted between August 13-20, 2021. For this survey, a sample of 1,000 adults age 18+ from the continental U.S., Alaska, and Hawaii who had purchased or consumed alcohol in the past 30 days was interviewed online in English. The poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points for all respondents.

Download the full report here >>

About Sunnyside

Sunnyside, founded by Nick Allen and Ian Andersen, is creating a new wellness category around proactive alcohol health. Focused on mindful drinking rather than an all-or-nothing approach, Sunnyside’s behavioral psychology-backed system provides each member a personalized plan catered to their lifestyles, baseline habits and individual goals. The Sunnyside experience is delivered via 2-way text message, providing a unique low friction approach that makes participation with the program simple and user friendly. For more information or to get started, visit www.sunnyside.co.

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Ian Andersen

Co-Founder of Sunnyside

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