Part 2: Younger Drinkers Trade Beer for Wine

    The most positive trend in a recent Wine Market Council study — reported on here yesterday — was among the younger generational segment:: generation-Xers and millennials.

     The greatest growth and the most optimistic conclusions from the survey come from millenials, ages 15 to 32. They and the generation-Xers accounted for what WMC President John Gillespie described as “stunning growth in the core wine-drinking population.”

     In 2008, nearly half of the millennial segment reported a net 23 percent increase in wine consumption — double that of generation-Xers against minimal or declining figures for the aging baby boomers. Gillespie described this trend as a “trade-off” phenomenon, where better than 10 percent of wine drinkers, primarily generation-Xers, are increasing total wine consumption at the expense of beer and spirits.

     The millennials, Gillespie suggested, are the future of the wine industry, and their numbers are increasing as younger members reach drinking age. They are the most optimistic about the economy, and their wine consumption continues to rise. Millennials take nearly three glasses per occasion, compared to 2.41 for generation-Xers and 2.13 for baby boomers.

     The report shows that millennials overwhelmingly associate wine with fun times. Millennials also are significantly more likely than older generations to purchase wines costing $20 or more, and they visit wine bars more frequently than those in older age groups.

     Red wine now accounts for nearly half of purchases by core wine drinkers, who consume domestic wine 2-to-1 over imports.

     Core wine drinkers identified their most recent wine occasion as having taken place at home. “Marginal” wine drinkers showed more frequent participation at the homes of friends or in restaurants. While home drinking most often occurs with guests or family among both groups, core members are more likely to partake at home with informal meals, take-out food or when dining alone. Both groups are highly likely to order wine in expensive restaurants, and core drinkers frequently drink wine in neighborhood or causal chain restaurants.

Posted in The Wine Business
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