Forget all that media-inspired spin about hot cocktails and a surge in wine drinking by younger consumers. They're still drinking beer.
That's the conclusion of a Nielsen study released this week, tracking the drinking habits of what the report calls Millenials -- the 70-million 21- to 30-year-olds in the United States. That's the second largest demographic group in the U.S. after the Baby Boomers, and larger than Generation X.
Yes, the study shows that Millenials are drinking more wine and that they want to learn more about wine. (Shameless plug: Check out Two Wine Guys, all you Millenials.) But the key numbers: Beer accounts for almost half of all their alcohol purchases by dollar, and it accounts for 83 percent of their purchases by volume.
Which means that 8 out of 10 times a Millenial walks up to the bar or goes into a liquor store, he or she is buying beer. The dollar figure is lower since beer costs less than wine or booze. Which also means that wine producers need to do more than put cute labels and catchy names on their bottles. They need to reach out to these consumers, and explain why beer is more fun to drink than wine.