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More Millennials Are Becoming Wine Snobs, and Big Beer Companies Can’t Handle It

Think Millennials are stuck in their college days and prefer beer as their alcoholic drink of choice down at the bars? Well, think again.

Turns out that instead of asking their bartender what’s on tap, Millennials are more likely to pick between red, white, and rose. Millennials are consuming more wine than any generation before them, and large beer brands are starting to notice.

Back in 2015, the Millennial generation as a whole consumed 159.6 million cases of wine. This represented about 36% of all the wine sales in that year, a statistic that has only risen since then.

Not only that but when Millennials drink, they drink a lot. This generation is on its way to becoming wine connoisseurs, as the number of high-frequency wine drinkers has risen from 8% in 2005 to 13% back in 2010, according to the Wine Market Council (YMC).

It turns out that when Millennials pick a favorite wine, they really do mean business.

Some believe that this trend change is a means of identification and maturity for the generation that struggles to be taken seriously in the public eye.

“Wine drinkers are beginning to sort themselves out,” President of the WMC, John Gillespie, explains to Business Insider. “It’s the self-identification of, ‘Yeah, I’m a wine person.'”

So what does this mean for the big beer brands that have thrived off Millennials and college-aged drinkers in the past few years? Inexpensive brands such as Bud Light, Pabst Blue Ribbon, and Heineken have been trying their hardest to market to young generations but aren’t having the best of luck ever since wine entered the picture with a splash.

Budweiser, in particular, is having many problems maintaining Millennial drinkers. The brand, known for its Americana vibe, Clydesdale horses, and adorable puppies, is starting to become quite stale in consumer’s eyes. This could be due to the fact that Budweiser is an internationally recognized brand of beer and doesn’t have the variety or the unique tastes craft beer has. Plus, as a whole, craft beer is becoming more and more popular for consumers, with the market being worth $19.6 billion.

The brand is still struggling despite recently having one of the most expensive celebrity endorsements ever. Right after the Superbowl, which is one of the most lucrative advertising opportunities for American businesses, Budweiser got a post-game shoutout from Patriots Quarterback Peyton Manning. Estimated to be worth about $3.2 million in media opportunity, while this endorsement led to a social media surge, it did not provide a lasting impact on sales.

To put this in perspective, more than 80% of social media discussion about beer on Super Bowl Sunday was related to Budweiser. And even though a good majority of social media users report that what they read online– such as what is posted on Facebook–makes an impact on their purchasing decision, Budweiser hasn’t been so lucky. va-facebook

Even though sales continued to drop, this past fiscal year was one of the best in Budweiser’s history, as the company admitted that the brand’s total market value dropped 15 points as a whole. Considering that per capita, Budweiser consumption fell from 30 cans annually to just 18 cans between 2004 and 2013, this does not fare well, despite expensive celebrity endorsements.

So for the brand that calls themselves the “King of Beers,” their Millennial “subjects” are changing their pace to something a bit more fruity. Plus, with the growing popularity of the craft beer market, we’ll have to wait and see who will come out on top as the new ruler of the alcohol world.




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