Fussy Drinkers? Wine Brands Matter to Millennials

Wine drinking is exploding in the U.S., driven by lower prices and increased interest on the part of Millenials (see earlier blogpost). Total inflation adjusted sales of wine in the U.S. have increased 20% over the past five years and are expected to growth another 16% in the next five years (Mintel). Wine outpaced every other non-water beverage category 2005-2007, including beer, although distilled spirits comes close in rate of growth.

So how do Millennials choose a wine? Surprise! Brand names in wine mean more to Millennials than to older wine drinkers. While the ‘animal names’ may not work with older wine drinkers, popular and memorable names like Yellow Tail can mean a lot to a Millennial. According to Mintel, 29% of 21-24 year olds and 31% of 25-34 year olds say “I prefer wines with casual and fun names such as Red Bicyclette, Three Blind Moose, compared to old-school names such as Bordeaux or Beaujolais.” This compares to just 18% for all adults. They are also more brand loyal. Millennials are much more likely than other adults to agree with the statement ‘I stick to (wine) brands I know’. The percentage of 21-24 year olds who say they decide based on brand (55%) is higher than the number who say they decide by price (48%). (See table above).

Millennials’ emphasis on brands helps explain the success of a new mobile phone app, Drync-wine. Launched originally in November, last week Drync added an iPhone application with the explicit goal of reaching “70 million tech-savvy Millennials, the fastest growing segment of the wine industry.” Here’s how they explain how it works:

Drync, LLC today announced the release of Drync-Wine, simplifying the way people research, remember, share, and purchase wine using their mobile device. Built initially for the iPhone, Drync-Wine is the only mobile wine application that scours multiple databases of nearly a million wine listings in real time to identify the exact wine a user is drinking. Perfect for the wine novice and connoisseur alike, Drync-Wine delivers expert reviews, ratings, descriptions, and pricing. Users may snap a photo of the label, save the wine to their own virtual wine cellar, add their own tasting notes, and even purchase the wine all from their mobile phone.

A million wine listings? With that many brands to choose from, this category seems perfect for social networking. Community features allow users to share wine information among friends. Future upgrades “enhanced community features such as twitter integration, enhanced sort and filtering of cellar data and wine recommendations.” Sounds smart to me. Click here to learn more from Drync’s blog.