How Millennials are Buying Wine

A new generation is surpassing the Baby Boomers, and wine companies need to take note. The Millennial generation outnumbered the Baby Boomers in the workforce back in 2016, and they are projected to beat them as consumers by 2036. How this new group of consumers purchases wine is shifting, and we take a closer look at what that means to your marketing strategy.

The Millennial Demographic

Any search into Google or through marketing reports seems to have a hard time identifying the perimeters for the millennial generation. The year they were born is roughly from 1981-1996 which means they sit between 26 and 38 in 2019. While experts can't agree on exactly where it starts and stops, they can confirm the workforce. In 2016, baby boomers were surpassed as the largest workforce with millennials totaling around 56 million. The population for the new demographic is projected to grow. How so if their birth dates determine their entry? Immigration. By 2036, it's expected to hit about 76 million.

The Difference in Purchasing Habits for Millenials and Baby Boomers

ABC Fine Wines & Spirits is one of the oldest family-owned, privately held alcohol retailer. The company sells both fine wines and spirits. Their products numbers are in the thousands, and with years of experience monitoring the alcohol industry, the company has noticed a shift in purchasing habits from the millennial generation in comparison to the baby boomers. Millennials typically are purchasing from the $12-$17 range for a bottle that is .750 mils. While it's not a far cry from the baby boomers, they both enjoy finding wines that retail for $13 but taste like they cost much more. A point of difference is millennials seem to be more adventurous in the style and region of their wine. An area where the baby boomers tended to be more conservative. "Millennial wine drinkers enjoy a wide range of styles, regions, and taste profiles," says Riboli's fourth-generation winemaker and family member Anthony Riboli. "It's a group that's very diverse and shouldn't be pigeon-holed."

The Wine Purchasing Habits of the Millennial Generation

Pitching your wine product to millennials requires a different approach. The generation doesn't employ one unified belief. They subscribe to different tribes or sectors. Getting your message front and center asks you to take a different route. A large common denominator is the millennial online presence. Wine companies need to meet these new consumers where they are and take an educational approach to delivering a brand message. Another aspect that rings true for a wide range of millennials is a story. They want to feel connected before they make a purchase.

Overreaching Trends for Wine Sales

Let's continue with the knowledge that millennials need a strong brand message before purchasing. How does that translate to buying wine? According to Jim Sabia executive vice president and CMO at Constellation Brands, they want a brand that "has a unique story and an approachable drink style, which resonates with millennials who are looking for authenticity and a wine for many occasions."

Millennial Change Product Demands

One beverage that millennials are popularizing is rosé. Constellation Brands acquired CaliforniaPinot Noir-focused Meiomi. Since the acquisition, there has been a surge in purchase volume from 790,000 to 1.35 million which include a Chardonnay and a rosé that retails at $25. Across the board, brands are trying out different products to entice consumers. Gallo, who owns one of the most popular wines Apothic, formulated a cold brew coffee-infused red wine. Innovative new products are just the beginning. Some brands are looking into alternative packaging. Sustainability is essential to many millennials and brands have to keep up by revisiting the packaging. Convenience is a key contributor to their purchasing decisions. Millennials are single and spending more time with groups of friends completing activities. Some wineries debuted canned versions of their wine to encourage more sales as the packaging is convenient to transport. Other wine companies have introduced three-liter packages that cater to larger social gatherings.

Marketing to Millennials

It can't be expressed enough the diversity in the millennial generation and the hurdles marketers need to go through. The new consumer group focuses a lot of their time and attention on web and mobile platforms to discover and engage with new products. But, retail spaces still have an impact. ABC has found an increase in these shoppers willing to participate in in-store wine-tastings. A marked difference to their counterparts is why they are at the tasting. Many reps have noticed they focus less on the flavor profile of the wine and instead ask questions about the product and the story of the company. Getting their attention requires a bit of storytelling. How do you do it? Through digital advertising and influencer partnerships.

Adult Beverage Brand and Marketing Strategies

You could break down millennials into two subgroups: the older or younger millennial. But, you would be doing your business a disservice. They require a unique strategy to get the message across without looking like you are trying too hard. Consulting agencies like Brindiamo Group can help streamline an approach. Having worked in the adult beverage industry for decades, Brindiamo is well-versed in the best marketing practices for alcoholic beverages. Contact us to learn more.


Tharel, Kimberly. “Millennials and Wine.” Market Watch. March 2019: 41-44. Print

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