How Millennials Are Affecting the Alcohol Industry

How Millennials Are Affecting the Alcohol Industry

Some studies suggest millennials are moving away from beer to other types of alcohol while others insure they prefer cannabis.

Millennials are reshaping the U.S. alcohol industry, consuming less booze than previous generations and ditching beer in favor of wines and spirits, according to a variety of surveys and industry analyses.

A UBS data report shows millennials are just not willing to recommend Budweiser as a beer brand to others, contrary to Dos Equis XX and Stella Artois.

Writing in Forbes, millennial trends analyst Jules Schroeder dubs her peers “Generation Sober,” pointing to a generation of health-conscious workaholics who prefer authentic human interaction and natural highs over boozy dance parties and hedonism.

“Sober dance parties… are becoming the new rage, inviting guests to ‘DOSE’ on all-natural chemicals like Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin, and Endorphins before heading out for a work day,” she writes.

Other studies suggest that millennials are consuming just as much alcohol as older generations, but in greater moderation and with a more diverse palate.

More booze, but with variety

“One big difference is that millennials today drink more liquor than their predecessors did at their age,” a recent study by Collage Group reports. “Emerging millennials also show greater interest in wine at an earlier age, and to a broader variety of subtypes of alcohol.”

What does appear to be clear is that millennials are moving away from beer to other types of alcohol. Last year, Goldman Sachs downgraded both the Boston Beer Company and the Constellation Brand based on data that suggests millennials tend to prefer wine and spirits.

Bloomberg reported last year that 14.4 million barrels of Budweiser, once Americas’s best-selling beer, were sold in the U.S. during 2016, yet this was less than a third of the brand’s peak sales in the 1980s.

Interestingly, among the 21-to-25 age group, or younger millennials, cannabis appears increasingly preferable to alcohol. Ahead of marijuana legalization in California, the cannabis company OutCo and Monocle Research reported that 51 percent of millennials they surveyed preferred marijuana to alcohol and tobacco.

“Growing up with anti-tobacco messaging, the smoking rate for 18-29-year-olds in the U.S. has dropped by 22 percent over the past decade, leaving alcohol as the substance of choice,” the study reported. “But we are already seeing a decrease in alcohol sales, which means that cannabis is poised to be the new recreational substance of choice for many millennials and beyond.”


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Paul Imison
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