When it comes to U.S. Millennials and alcohol it’s not just craft beer and artisanal small batch spirits, they seem to be sucking up all things bubbly as well. Sales of Champagne, Prosecco, Moscato, Sparkling wines (Rosé in particular) continued to rise this past year, outpacing non-bubbly wine largely due to the generation’s consumer mindset and buying habits¹.
Millennials and Champagne
The U.S. wine market, the largest in the world, continued to show strength in 2016 growing 2.4% to 341.1 million 9-liter cases led by a 6.6% upsurge in the consumption of total sparkling wines, according to the Beverage Information Group’s 2017 Wine Handbook. A strong U.S. economy, employment and wage gains, and larger discretionary incomes all contributed to the category’s growth so say The Beverage Information and Insights Group
Table wine grew to 309.4 million 9-liter cases, a 2.2% increase over 2015, according to the Beverage Information and Insights Group. The champagne and sparkling wine category grew for its 15th consecutive year to 22.1 million 9-liter cases, up and impressive 7.8%. Domestic sparkling wine reached 11.9 million 9-liter cases resulting in a 5.2% increase in volume, continuing and eleven-year growth streak.
No longer reserved for holidays or special occasions, Millennials are opting to drink champagne, sparkling-based wines and sparkling cocktails at any time of any day, citing their desire to celebrate each day to its fullest.
“Sparklers” and Rosé are common choices nowadays at bars and restaurants, whereas just a decade ago, no one even offered them. “On-premise, more bars are making Champagne cocktails,” says Gregg at Applejack Wine & Spirits, “and that translates to more sparkling wine sales off-premise as people mix them up at home.”
In terms of their drinks preferences, even British Millennials are more likely to buy white or sparkling wine – particularly Prosecco – than spirits or beer, although they have a penchant for US whiskey², according to The Drinks Business
Shanken News Daily reports that Aygline Pechdo, brand director, Champagne and sparkling at Pernod Ricard USA, says millennials are becoming key drivers of category volume. “The consumer base has diversified over the years and the consumption of Champagne is no longer reserved to the elite or older demographics,” Pechdo says. “In fact, most of the volume today is driven by ‘high-energy’ occasions, very much in line with millennials’ lifestyle and their desire to celebrate each day to its fullest—not just special occasions.”
Millennials aren’t just more festive overall, they are also quality-conscious. In a survey Nielsen conducted in August 2015, 34% of spirits drinkers said they equate a higher price with higher quality either all or most of the time. Among Millennials, however, the percent was 41%, while only 27% of Boomers associate price and quality. And a craft beverage alcohol survey in May, 2015 found that consumers ages 21-34 desire craft beer that is associated with being handcrafted, artisanal and top quality.
Propelled by a new generation of highly aspirational consumers, Champagne is on a strong upswing in the U.S. market reports Shanken News Daily
When it comes to purchasing particular brands, Millennials are more particular about champagne than wine.
“In looking at specific libations, Millennials plan their Champagne purchases more than their table wine or any other alcohol purchases. In fact, when it comes to brand-specific shopping, 27% of Millennials know what Champagne brand they will be purchasing versus only 21% of wine.” Neilson Reports
Cheers Online says this isn’t the last of the upswing and the trend will continue to grow through 2018.
• Rosé Sales Soaring Among Millennials (Fortune)
• U.S. Wine Consumption Increases Led by the Upsurge in Total Sparkling and Champagne According to the 2017 Wine Handbook
• They’re Thirsty for Deals But Millennials Won’t Sacrifice Taste or Quality When It Comes To their Alcohol
• U.S. Champagne Market Rolls On, As Millennials Reach For Bubbly
• THE ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE OPPORTUNITY: UNDERSTANDING BOOMER AND MILLENNIAL SHOPPING BEHAVIOR
• BATTLE OF THE SPARKLING WINES: CHAMPAGNE VS. PROSECCO
• Champagne And Sparkling Wine Trends At Bars And Restaurants
• Why Champagne and Sparkling Wines have become more than just a Holiday Libation