Young people love wine

I just read a very interesting article (by freelancer Tim Teichgraeber, Decanter Magazine) that proclaims "Wine gains on beer as US youth drink of choice." According to a Nielson study, beer drinking among the 21-30 age group is decreasing and wine and spirits consumption increasing (by purchases). Millenials are increasingly turning to wine and spirits as their drink of choice.

Being a member of this age group, all I can say is "Old news."

I may be biased because I'm in the wine industry, but I have a lot of friends who aren't, and wine is still their nightly beverage. If they're going to have one glass of wine with dinner, or one beer with dinner, wine is the winner most of the time. Why? Perhaps because of it's image as being more food-friendly, or their familiarity with the beverage (many of our parents were wine drinkers, so wine isn't intimidating). I'm sure there are a myriad of other explanations, but the results of this study don't surprise me at all.

Case-in-point, when my fiance and I -- both proud Millenials -- go to a certain brewery in downtown Santa Rosa, we often order a bottle of J sparkling wine instead of beer (they have a good price on it, can you blame us?). Not only do people not look at us like we're freaks, but our friends don't feel ashamed to join in with glasses, and we've even seen people down the bar order a bottle shortly after ours arrives.

It's also not surprising to me that
the study says that Millenials 'frequently seek new tastes and are willing to pay a premium for alcoholic beverages.' For the most part, we know the difference between good wine and bad wine and are willing to pay for something that doesn't taste like pondwater. (Not to say there aren't some pricey bottles out there that taste like pondwater too.) As for looking for new and different tastes: unfortunately, in today's grocery stores, some of the best QPRs (quality-price ratios) are found in the imported or obscure varietals sections.

All I can say is that I'm glad the wine industry is finally realizing the importance of the next wine-drinking generation. And I'm sorry it's all because of the money they are (and will) bring in. I've gotten some pretty terrible treatment at tasting rooms because of my age, and that's one thing we vowed never to do to our customers. Come one, come all. Even if we do have to card you.


sfmike said…
I sure hope us younger wine folks start to get some more major respect in this industry. Not all of us look like the picture or travel with those who do, so we cant count on that as a way to get the older crowds attention.
Amen. It's starting to change because of our spending power, and I know it will continue as the millenial group starts to take over the wine business themselves.

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