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What’s on The Drink Menu?

Multicultural Millennial Alcohol Beverage Preferences

Laura Criscione
Millennials continue to provide opportunities for many industries due to their different characteristics. This growing generation has proved to be a great target market for alcohol corporations by distinguishing their varying tastes and preferences. “Not only are millennials 77 million strong, they will account for almost 30% of the total consumer product dollars spend by 2020” [1].

When shopping, this younger generation values experience and authenticity; and when purchasing alcohol, it is no different. They rely on online marketing, blog recommendations and in-store drink tastings to get the most relevant and genuine information about a product. “Millennials 21-34 represent about one-fourth of adults 21 and over, but they account for 35% of U.S. beer consumption and 32% of spirit consumption.

Comparatively, they represent only 20% of wine consumption.”[2] These young adults enjoy drinking different types of alcohol in contrasting settings. Beer is typically consumed in destressing and social gatherings with close friends and families. When surveyed, they drank more types of hard alcohol, such as vodka, rum, whiskey and tequila, compared to other generations.[3] “Among liquors, vodka (33%) is the popular choice, with rum (22%) and tequila (21%) vying for the second position.”[4] Yet, they also have a great interest in wine as well.

They are 60% more likely than other American wine drinkers to be intrigued by wine tastings. Millennial wine lovers research various wines on wine apps or use peer reviews to find the best one.[5] According to a study, they favor red and white wine equally, with 28% having purchased each within the past three months. Blush or rosé wine (11%) and champagne or sparkling wine (9%) are less the popular choices.[6]

Disparities can also be seen within Generation Y among the varying ethnicities. Asian Americans, African Americans and Hispanic Americans all spend their money differently when it comes buying different types of alcohol.

Asian Americans are typically bargain hunters when shopping; they tend to plan ahead when buying alcohol along with fresh produce and meat. This niche also spends more on wine when shopping, illustrating a higher propensity to entertain guests. Studies have shown that these wine enthusiasts are 140% more likely to purchase a bottle of wine worth more than $20 and are 21% more likely to drink wine at dinner.[7] Regarding spirit drinkers, vodka is the most popular drink (59%) followed by tequila (43%) and finally whiskey (37%).[8]

Hispanic Americans, on the other hand, are not as influenced by wine as Asian Americans are. Beer is the most popular alcohol among them (51%), then followed by wine at 38% and hard alcohol at 32%. This group sees no distinction between craft beer to regular beer, even sometimes seeing it as inferior. In addition, Hispanic Americans enjoy fruit flavored alcohol (32%) and they are the only group that drinks tequila and vodka at the same level of  consumption.[9]

African American millennials are not strong beer drinkers like Hispanic Americans are. They are also not so much into bargain shopping as finding a grocery nearby to purchase food and drink. Like Hispanic Americas, 21% see craft beer as inferior. Regarding spirits, vodka is the most popular (57%) followed by cognac and brandy. As for wine, the most favored is sparking wine among African American millennials.[10]

As the statistics have shown, not all millennials are the same. Multicultural millennials have varying preferences when it comes to their favorite types of alcohol. It is imperative for alcoholic beverage corporations understand their differences in order market themselves correctly to each differentiated group.

By: Laura Criscione 


[1]  "They're Thirsty for Deals, But Millennials Won't Sacrifice Taste or Quality in Their Alcoholic Beverages." Nielsen. 28 Dec. 2015. Web. 25 Mar. 2016. 
[2] "They're Thirsty for Deals, But Millennials Won't Sacrifice Taste or Quality in Their Alcoholic Beverages." 
[3]"They're Thirsty for Deals, But Millennials Won't Sacrifice Taste or Quality in Their Alcoholic Beverages." 
[4] "Millennials and Alcohol: Whos Drinking What?" MarketingCharts. 31 May 2013. Web. 25 Mar. 2016. 
[5] "Millennials & Alcoholic Beverages." FONA International. Web. 25 Mar. 2016. 
[6] "Millennials and Alcohol: Whos Drinking What?" MarketingCharts. 31 May 2013. Web. 25 Mar. 2016. 
[7] Asian Americans: Culturally Connected and Forging the Future. Nielsen, June 2015. PDF. 
[8] The Hispanic Millennial Project Wave 4: Food, Beverage & Alcohol: The Impact of Culture on How Multicultural Millennials Eat, Drink and Shop. Aug. 2015. PDF. 
[9] The Hispanic Millennial Project Wave 4: Food, Beverage & Alcohol 
[10] The Hispanic Millennial Project Wave 4: Food, Beverage & Alcohol 


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