Wine Industry Insight has a great chart showing the growth of spirits among Millennial drinkers. Beer is still doing pretty well.
But look at that little straggler there towards the end. The one holding the tiny 18% preference of Millennial drinkers–after declining 4% from 2017.
We see you wine. We see you.
Though apparently we aren’t drinking you–as the “share of throat” (basically share of the beverage market) for wine is barely a fifth of what Millennials consume.
This is something that the wine industry is going to have to deal with.
Right now Baby Boomers and Generation X still spend a lot on wine but eventually the wine industry’s success is going to depend on Millennials choosing wine over other drinks.
Wineries are going to have figure out how not to bore Millennials to tears with their offerings and marketing.
This is why I harp on the foolishness of producers and wine regions focusing on “the old guard” varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Sauvignon blanc.
These things have been done before, ad infinitum and ad nauseam.
I get it. Those grapes certainly rule the market right now. But it’s incredibly easy to get bored of them and have your wine get lost in the crowd. Once you’ve had one Cab, it often feels like you’ve had them all.
Millennials seek variety and excitement.
The diversity of the craft beer movement with all its different styles struck a great cord with millennials that likely won’t wane. Spirits are offering a world of new cocktails to explore. Even categories like whiskey up the excitement factor with different mash bills, aging regiments and cask finishing.
To catch up, the wine world is resorting to gimmicks like blue wine, bourbon & tequila barrel aging, coffee wine, silly augmented reality labels, etc.
It’s basically putting lipstick on a pig. Yeah, that will work a time or two but even the best liquid matte fades.
Yet we already have the answer to the “boredom factor” right in front of us and scattered across the globe. How about highlighting the beautiful wealth of interesting grape varieties, terroir and unique people with stories to tell?
Vermentino! Picpoul! Cabernet Franc! Chenin blanc! Valdiguié! Roussanne! Mourvèdre! Sangiovese! Pinot Gouges! Siegerrebe! Malbec! Cinsault! Counoise! Grenache!
I could go on. The point is that we don’t have to fall back on the same ole, same ole. Instead of looking back at the old guards and standbys of yesterday, we should be moving forward and exploring the promising potential of tomorrow’s wines.
Otherwise, the wine industry is going to keep losing shares of a lot throats.