In today’s digital age, what was “hip” a week ago is likely old news by now. Trends and tastes are changing faster than ever, and nowhere is that more prevalent than with bar and beverage selections. The group with both the influence and the buying power spearheading these changes are Millennials.
For restaurants, bars, and nightclubs, it’s important to offer bar and beverage selections that reflect this generation’s tastes. But before you offer the newest craft cocktail, you want to first understand what quenches the thirst of this demographic.
Who are Millennials?
First, who are Millennials? About 25% of the U.S. population falls between the ages of 21 and 35 and are considered a part of the group known as Generation Y. It’s more diverse than any generation preceding it, but most important, Millennials have the highest spending power. It makes sense that they are a crucial target market for restaurants and bars.
In all aspects of life, Millennials value authenticity and experience. Technology plays an immense role in nearly every decision Millennials make. They are skeptical of most advertising and believe that online advertising, blogs, and tasting events are more genuine and personal experiences. Purchasing decisions stem more from social media and word of mouth, and less from television or print advertisements.
With food and drink, Millennials want a unique experience that is customizable. They prefer to discover and try new flavors and products.
What are Millennials Drinking?
Millennials are driven by trend and taste. They care about flavor profiles, ingredient sourcing, and how beer, wine, and cocktails are produced when making their bar and beverage selections. The surge of the craft movement is directly related to Millennial’s preference of craft beverages. More specifically craft beer and craft cocktails.
According to a 2016 Trend Insight Report from FONA, Millennials enjoy craft beer more than any other consumer group. They are also drinking beer in social settings like restaurants or bars far more often than other demographics. Always looking for the latest and greatest, Millennials seek out lesser known craft beers and constantly look to discover new styles and breweries.
In the same FONA report, it states that Millennials drink more varieties of spirits, like vodka, rum, tequila, and whiskey, than any other generation. Their flavor portfolios range wider and are as diverse as the group themselves. Part of this is due to this generation drinking more sophisticated beverages like wine and spirits at an earlier age.
Flavors and color play enormous roles in beverage selection. In craft beers, hoppy IPAs and seasonal fruit-infused options are popular. Flavored liquor, like cinnamon whiskey, has taken on a life
of its own in recent years. Millennials tend to flock towards sweeter wines, but are open to trying newer, local offerings. Novelty cocktails are becoming more common due to the tastes and trends of Millennials.
Speaking of wine, millennials are surprisingly drinking wine earlier and more often than other age groups. In a study by the Wine Market Council in 2014, 29% of wine drinkers were between 21 and 34 years of age. Apps, wine clubs, and other technology helps wine drinkers branch out and discover all different types of wine.
Whether it’s wine, beer, or a craft cocktail, Millennials are more willing to try new, limited-edition, or concept beverages. That presents a huge opportunity for operators to tailor their bar and beverage programs to this young, influential, and profit-making generation.