COMMENT:

I see our drinking stats are trending down a bit.

But we still have a binge drinking problem - that should come as no surprise to anyone.

A third of Kiwis binge drink, and you only need to go out any weekend to see that in action. In fact, you don't even need to go out, much of it happens at home.

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But we are drinking, according to new data, much less than we did 20 years ago.

Why? Well some say it's those annoyingly health conscious wellness-focused millennials. The ones who love a bit of smashed avocado and a kombucha. The ones who put sauerkraut on top of everything.

Many of them want to be fresh for hot yoga in the morning, so are dialling back a night on the turps. It turns out Millennials are fuelling the sales of low-alcohol, or no-alcohol, drinks.

In the meantime kombucha's grown 232 per cent in value in the past 12 months.

But is this trend area-specific?

What I mean by that is if you're urban and abreast of current trends and every corner bar's offering Kombucha, then sure, it's easy to partake. But I live rurally, and I can tell you from my local yacht club, which is probably much like your local RSA, there does not appear to be too much of a movement towards soda with a twist of lime. Especially on Thirsty Thursday.

For all the social media and noise around health, wellness and clear heads, it feels that's really only the case in small pockets of our society.

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And what about teenagers? Those of us with a few of those know all too well how many RTDs or cans of beer can be sunk any given weekend.

The messaging around alcohol's still confused too. For every study that'll tell you it causes cancer, I can find one telling you it aids cardiovascular health.

I think whichever side of the fence you sit on in that regard depends on your own relationship with alcohol.

I gave up alcohol four years ago, not for any particular reason other than a busy New Years Eve worrying about the kids and their friends and how much alcohol they might be drinking.

I was so busy trying to be a responsible host I forgot to drink anything myself. The next morning I loved the fact I had no hangover. It was an addictive feeling.

To be honest, it wasn't too much of a grind giving up alcohol, given that I never drank much of it in the first place. (I was a lightweight. Even a couple of glasses of wine made me feel crap the next day.)

But I figured if I can manage not to drink on New Year's without even realising it, then surely I don't need this. I'm not saying never though, and I wouldn't preach to anyone else.

Because the thing about alcohol is that everyone's experience is different. Everyone's relationship with alcohol is different.

I think when we quote millennials and new data and wellness gurus, we need to remember that while a trend may be the case for many people, many others still struggle. And that struggle is serious.