I’ll drink to that

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A newly-released survey from the Wine Market Council says there are now more Millennials than Boomers drinking wine (36 percent vs 34 percent). Holy vino, Batman!

This fact came as a bit of a shocker to me since my Boomer buds pride themselves on their ability to down three or more bottles of wine at a dinner outing and still drive home safely afterwards. Turns out my peer group are slackers compared to their kids. Millennials are absolute animals!

Beth Bloom, senior food and drink analyst at Mintel (and, how cool is that job title?), says 49 percent of Millennials report the wine they drink says a lot about them (vs only 36 percent of the general population). That certainly holds true with me. I’ll down anything that’s cold.

Millennials also embrace wines that appeal specifically to their lifestyles (or define them as they see themselves).

For example, there’s an absolutely gross-looking vino called ManCan which, you guessed it, comes in a beer can and appeals to soccer dads. No way you’d catch this Boomer tossing back some fine Pinot Grigio in a can that could easily be mistaken for Bud Light.

Intent on taking a longer sip (and dip) into the Millennial wine craze, I turned to my agency’s 20-somethings. I wanted to know if they drank as much wine as the survey would suggest, and also whether they preferred wine over beer.

Kristin Davie confirmed both the results, and the trend among Millennials to choose a wine that defined them:

“Influencers are key to driving Millennials’s decision-making. There’s a popular social media influencer called The Fat Jew, who created his own wine, White Girl Rose. Hoboken liquor stores could barely keep the shelves stocked when it made its debut (Note to readers living outside the tri-state area: Hoboken is to Millennials as Boca Raton is to the geriatric set).

Davie went on to add that a leading star of the TV series, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”, released his own pinot noir (that just happened to have a recurring role in the series. Clever these marketers). It, too, became enormously successful.

OK, got it. You guys (as you guys like to say) like to drink what your heroes suggest you drink. But, what about wine vs. beer? Which do Millennials prefer? Well, if Peppercommers are any indicator, the answer is, “Depends.”

Two chose wine hands down (or bottoms up). But, two others say they opted for beer since “….it’s delicious and I know a whole lot more about it.”

The vast majority, however, went in the opposite direction, saying their alcoholic drink of choice was dictated by the social circumstances of the moment (i.e. They’ll demurely sip a glass of wine when partying with the ladies or quaff a brew if watching a football game with the crew).

Another cohort went strictly with the hard stuff. “I like vodka. It has less calories. But, when I do drink wine, I choose red since that’s what the ill-fated British Queen, Ann Boleyn, drank to create a natural flush in her cheeks.” Makes sense to me.

One Peppercomm Millennial opts for whiskey first and wine second, saying of the latter: “There’s so much more variety (than beer). It matches well with so many different foods, it can be served cold or at room temperature and it can be spicy or sweet.” Hard to argue those points.

I must say drinking in the wine info from the brim to the dregs got me thinking about the good, old Wine Market Council.

While I’m sure they’re thrilled to see a younger generation embrace their beverage, they shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss Boomers. I know I’d be the first on my block to buy a case of Joe Willie Namath sauvignon blanc. (Select Reserve. Vintage: January 12, 1969).

4 thoughts on “I’ll drink to that

  1. Appreciate the feedback. When I have a second, I plan to speak to someone at the Beer Institute to see how they’re doing with Millennials and if they fear losing market share to these next generation wines.

  2. Millennials are hanging onto the last vestiges of their college days and still make plans to “go out and get drunk.” Any thing that makes that event different or unusual or distinctive will get their attention- be it wine in a can or pseudo-celebrity branded booze. It’s not about appreciating a good (or even nice) wine… it’s about getting the alcohol to do it’s thing and get the party started.

  3. Brands like ManCan, Underwood and others have done a great job marketing to this demo. It is more about the brand and how it fits their lifestyle than the taste, grape, etc. (no disrespect to either brand). A lot of the new wine options are like this generations Zima. Not sure they are creating the new generation of sommeliers, but they are selling wine like crazy.