The relationship between millennials and wine has been a hot button topic for years, with craft beer, hard seltzer, and distilled spirits vying for market share. The Silicon Valley Bank’s recently published 2022 State of the Wine Industry report shows the scale of the issue, using industry-wide surveys and data, sourced from reputable organizations such as the Wine Institute.
In 2021, Americans did not consume more wine than in the previous year. Instead, wine’s market share decreased, with overall declines for on- and off-premise sales. Wine wholesale also decreased, while spirits sales grew compared to 2020 totals.
The data paints a contrasting picture to the comeback many had hoped (and predicted) for 2021, with report author Rob McMillan portioning some of the blame to the competitive on-premise market.
“[Restaurants] weren’t really as interested in wine as spirits, reinforcing that that’s what consumers are saying,” said McMillan. “The wine list has become a beverage page, and you have to share it with beer, cocktails and even spiked seltzers.”
In the report, McMillan notes that only 20 percent of millennials (aged 25-40) consume wine, while 33 percent of millennials are consuming luxury goods. According to the report, the transition of millennials taking over wine consumption from baby boomers has been delayed by a number of factors, including: “millennials’ early preference for craft beer and spirits, questions surrounding the health of alcohol consumption, and the fact that it takes longer to establish careers, families, and wealth than it did for previous generations.”
But this is not the final call for the wine industry, and many professionals believe they can lure millennial drinkers — they just need a good slogan.
Along with other wine industry executives and analysts— Danny Brager (Brager Beverage Alcohol Consulting), MJ Dale (Customer Vineyard), and Dale Stratton (Wine Market Council) — McMillan has formed the Wine Research and Marketing Project (WineRAMP).
WineRAMP will be applying for a USDA National Research and Promotion order, which are national marketing campaigns known for their iconic slogans with both government and industry backing, the most famous of which being the “Got Milk?” campaign. The campaign will cost over $1 million dollars to apply for, but already $650,000 has been secured from industry members and supporters.
So millennials: Got Wine?