By Irene Wang and Tom Bateman
TOKYO, Sept 12 (Reuters) - Bucking the age-old stereotype of hard-drinking college students, Manaka Okamoto considers the next day's schedule before cracking open an alcoholic beverage.
"If I have to get up early, and I think 'Oh, I should hold off on drinking,' then I go for a non-alcohol drink to get a sense of alcohol when I'm drinking alone," Okamoto, 22, said at a Tokyo restaurant. "And of course, when hanging out with friends who don't drink, it's nice to have something to toast with."
The popularity of low- and non-alcoholic drinks has risen worldwide, accelerated by the pandemic, which led many people to be more health conscious. The global market value for the segment rose to just under $10 billion in 2021 from $7.8 billion in 2018, according to researcher IWSR.