Monday, August 11, 2014

Rant: Wine Is Losing Ground

Wine isn't as popular as it used to be, and beer is becoming a more favored choice. For several years, some have claimed that Millennials were the future of wine, that they would consume more wine than any previous generation. I voiced my doubts, worried that all of the new craft beers and spirits might capture the attention of Millennials. Based on a recent Gallup poll, craft beers might be replacing wine as the drink of choice.

For more than twenty years, beer has usually been the preferred drink of Americans, except for a brief moment in 2005 when wine surpassed beer. This year, beer has been on an upward surge, preferred by 41% of Americans while wine has been on the decline, preferred by only 31%. Those who prefer spirits was at 23%, which has slowly been climbing. It doesn't appear that the infusion of Millennials has been boosting the number of Americans who prefer wine. Instead, it seems beer and spirits may be capturing more of their attention.

When the results are broken down by demographics, the situation becomes even more interesting. 46% of women prefer wine while only 17% of men prefer it (and 57% of men prefer beer). A nearly 30% difference is astounding. Why do so few men prefer wine? Why does wine appeal more to women? Do wine marketers need to appeal more to men? How do they do that? With such a large discrepancy, then why are more wine blogs written by men? The number of female written wine blogs has been increasing each year, but men still author the majority.    

Age also plays its part in one's preferences. Generally, the younger the group, the more they prefer beer. For example, those 18-34 years old prefer beer 48% while those 35-54 prefer beer only 43%, and those older prefer wine over beer, 38% to 32%. Millennials, especially males, are opting more for beer than wine. That will likely change as they get older, but it seems as if it will fall into old patterns, and not create anything new.

Roughly 64% of American adults drink alcohol, with the rest identifying as "total abstainers." This is roughly the same as it has been since the end of Prohibition. That is also a fascinating fact, that despite the production over the years of higher quality wine, beer and spirits, the total amount of drinkers has remained relatively stable, with only minor fluctuations.

How can wine regain ground against craft beers and spirits? How can we get more men to prefer wine? Are women the future of wine? These are all important questions that wineries, marketers, PR people, and others should be considering. Writers should also be exploring these issues, as well as considering the demographics of their readers.

1 comment:

james said...

I can think of a couple of reasons.

firstly Californian wine is almost a caricature of wine these days. Over ripe, over thick, over sweet and over alcoholic.

It is also grossly over priced.

Craft beers by contrast offer great taste, less alk, and much lower pricing. In short craft beer offers the same chance to explore off the beaten flavour track without two of the costs - $$$ and alcohol (which can lead to additional direct $$$ costs.)