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Alarming Millennial Trend Against Alcohol Consumption?


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I have been reading a growing number of articles saying that Millennials are rejecting alcohol.  I have had some debates with people in this age group confirming the very thing... basically lauding cannabis and putting alcohol in their hierarchy of things they are addicted to cancel.   It seems that COVID, our government responses to it, the impact to the on-premise market, the consolidation of distributors, the explosion in ready-to-drink offerings... and now this trend for another young person and nanny-state try at a new Volstead Act in practice, is about the perfect storm of crap for our industry. 

I for one, think the explosion in hard seltzer and other big-producer industrial consumer ready-to-drink alcohol products has reached a point of over-saturation.  They are truly pushing over-consumption and it seems the smarter generation of young people have about had it with that marketing/media manipulation.  Unfortunately they are not differentiating those products with our premium, hand-made craft products of agriculture.

We compete with these big products, and it seems they are potentially pulling us down with them.   I am taking every opportunity to differentiate our products from these other products... that frankly I believe are crap.  Really, flavored soda water with some GNS? 

Another very frustrating aspect of this... the kids seem to be on a kick to reject tradition.  The stories of history connecting to our industry... the nostalgia... the authenticity... these are starting to be responded to as negatives.

I think we better get on this or we are going to see a generational downward trajectory in market.  

Interested in your take on this.  Am I over-reacting? 

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4 hours ago, Patio29Dadio said:

I have been reading a growing number of articles saying that Millennials are rejecting alcohol.

They are on the edges. Legal weed is a substitute. It has different side effects that some people prefer to the side effects of alcohol.

4 hours ago, Patio29Dadio said:

I think we better get on this or we are going to see a generational downward trajectory in market.

That is likely. But there's always macro and micro trends. Right now the micro trend seems to favor local craft. Who knows how long that will last. Maybe in 10/20/30 years craft will continue to benefit at macro's expense.

4 hours ago, Patio29Dadio said:

I for one, think the explosion in hard seltzer and other big-producer industrial consumer ready-to-drink alcohol products has reached a point of over-saturation. 

We're not even close to saturation and no where near over saturation. It's a nascent trend that the market and producers are still working out. Look how many types of soda pop there was and is. There won't be over saturation until you see major brands go tits up. Right now it's a blank slate with some outlines on it. There's plenty of room to play.

 

4 hours ago, Patio29Dadio said:

Another very frustrating aspect of this... the kids seem to be on a kick to reject tradition

You literally can go back through history and read how each generation thinks the next generation is going to be the downfall of humanity. I remember hearing about something exactly like that from something written in like 500 AD. Eventually it will be right but I doubt it will be anytime soon. Our society changes whether we want it to or not. It's human nature. 

 

 

 

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Good responses.  The general message is that I am either over-reacting, or need to learn how to deal with it. 

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"Markets have always and will always be exceptionally volatile. Stalwarts who refuse to respond to market fluctuations historically have been losers."

Well I certainly know this.  But we are talking about a shift that potentially makes the entire industry of what we do losers... unless we can shift to cannabis in a bottle... or unless it is a micro trend that doesn't stick.  Given what we are seeing today in trends being manufactured and pushed through our always-on media feeds, I guess I am dubious about being natural and not also manufactured to some end.    

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"We're not even close to saturation and no where near over saturation. It's a nascent trend that the market and producers are still working out."

Ok.  Interesting.  My sense was based on comments I heard from some of these young consumers that they are flooded with alcohol choice and marketing and tired of it.  

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"You literally can go back through history and read how each generation thinks the next generation is going to be the downfall of humanity."

I am old enough to have lived through 3 of those... and this last one isn't quite like the previous two.  However, the downfall of humanity is another topic... I and just considering the downfall of craft spirits consumption. 

I will keep up the pitch for craft, authentic, etc. 

Funny, one debate I had with a young dude telling me alcohol sucks... destroys lives and marriages.   I said "well if you are smoking a lot of pot I doubt you have much of a life, and are certainly going to have a harder time getting married."  That pissed him off for some reason. 

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We generally see a lot of activity in this area in January. Locally, there is a thing called 'Dry January' that always gets a lot of press. Luckily for us distillers there will always be a market for alcohol! And although I tend to cater to an older crowd, I'm seeing no shortage of younger people developing an interest in spirits and cocktails. They love the craft aspect and my sales are as healthy as ever, so I'm not overly concerned - but it is prudent to know your audience and what they want. To that end, some local distilleries around here have done very well with non alcohol gin substitutes. Not my thing, but they are richer for it.

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16 hours ago, Patio29Dadio said:

The general message is that I am either over-reacting, or need to learn how to deal with it.

Naw, you're just asking a question. You're doing exactly what you should be doing - looking forward to so what's coming next so you can plan for it.

16 hours ago, Patio29Dadio said:

some of these young consumers that they are flooded with alcohol choice and marketing and tired of it.

That's something different that isn't just alcohol. People, especially the younger generations, are getting advertising fatigue. There's so much advertising that it's starting to wear people out. And sadly that's a vicious cycle as now you need to advertise even more to effective.

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Young consumers were never the answer for us anyways. Craft is successful from people who are looking to appreciate the difference and nuance of subtle difference and a good story. These are people who have high discretionary incomes and are looking for experiential stimulation. Based on intense market research our bread and butter is that 26-50 crowd. If you're catching them at LDA-28 thats great but they were never, have never, and will never be paying craft distilleries bills unless they're accompanied by an elder usually paying relative or friend, or they are an anomaly of that population.

 

Be worried when suburban woman swear off wine and blue collar swears off beer, but until that happens, were safe AS LONG AS YOU'RE MAKING EXCEPTIONAL PRODUCT.

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2 hours ago, Southernhighlander said:

The oldest millennial are now 40 years old while the oldest of the Gen. Z generation are 24.  Are there any stats on what Gen Z thinks about alcohol?

 

Well we know they love weed heroin and molly! At least here county!  So Im not too worried!

 

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8 minutes ago, Southernhighlander said:

  Sounds like the baby boomers and Gen X except it was weed, LSD and Quaaludes back then.

 

 

Man what I would give for some legit quaaludes this side of the millennium lol!

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