Millennials are predicted to overcome Gen Xers as the biggest fine wine drinking generation by 2026. Wine consumption is up among Millennials, but that is not apparent from the way it is being advertised. Marketing around tasting notes, points and industry terms has made wine feel intimidating to consumers.
Millennials use technology and social media as their first resource for discovering wines, methods which winemakers have long disregarded. In 2015, Millennials drank 42% of all wine consumed in the United States, which prompted winemakers to start marketing their wines online. Online beer, liquor and wine sales jumped 33% in 2017. Flash forward to 2019 and wine accounted for 65% of all online alcohol sales, eclipsing both beer and spirits. Although overall wine sales were down in 2019, consumption has increased during the pandemic and the rise in virtual wine tastings may be one of the keys to making wine more accessible and relatable for all consumers.
Many brands have begun to make a concentrated effort to cater to the more casual and social lifestyles of younger drinkers by offering canned wine. Part of canned wine’s appeal is that it is practical, there is no need for corkscrews or glasses. Millennials value experiences over possessions, therefore a drink that can be thrown in a cooler and taken anywhere will is more appealing than one that requires stemware or decanters.
Overall, Americans prefer to drink at home because it is more relaxing and personable compared to a restaurant or bar. Alloy Wine Works founder Andrew Jones believes that canned wine meets people where they want to be, as consumers want “top-quality grapes…in a smaller, endlessly recyclable package that could be consumed anywhere.” An increasing awareness of sustainability and wellness among consumers may also bolster the positioning of premium canned wine in the marketplace. The global recycling rate for cans is 69 percent, while the rate for glass is only around 26.5 percent. Some industry experts believe that cans are not a fad, instead they may be the future of wine.