Millennials Driving Portability and Convenience in Wines & Spirits  10/31/2016

Next time you crack open a cooler at a tailgating party, you may see cans of wine and cocktails in addition to the traditional beer and soda, as suppliers address the growing demand for convenience packaging -- a growing trend in adult beverages noted by attendees interviewed during ECRM’s recent Global Wine, Beer, and Spirits EPPS.

“Canned adult beverages are becoming more popular, particularly as many public venues such as festivals and concerts, and many boat owners and pools do not allow glass,” said Adam Salzwedel, Own Brand Lead – Salty Snacks/Beverages for Meijer.

This trend is particularly strong among Millennials. A recent study by Nicholas E. Johnston, a Research Assistant and doctoral student in hospitality administration at Texas Tech University, recently conducted a study, co-funded by the Texas Wine Marketing Research Institute and the Wine Market Council, on Millennials’ perceptions and preferences of alternative wine packaging.

Titled, Millennial Wine Consumers: Attitudes towards Alternative Wine Packaging, the study concluded that “price-conscious Millennial wine consumers purchase alternatively packaged products for use in particular situations, such as when gathering with family and friends. Furthermore, they are drawn towards alternative packaging that has modern, natural, and simple design elements as well as packaging that is highly functional and conveys value.”

John Deichler, Category Manager - Alcoholic Beverage, Murphy USA, another buyer who attended the EPPS, is also seeing this among the new generation of customers at his company’s convenience stores. “As generational shift takes hold, we see a greater drive towards immediate consumption and ease of experience,” he said. “Customers cross between categories freely and stigmas long attached to package type are blurred to near irrelevance. Long comfortable with a cold 16oz can of FMB, the youngest consumers are eager to experience wine and liquor with this same level of convenience.”

Indeed, no longer are screw-top wines seen as “non-premium” by these consumers; to them, it means they don’t have to worry about having a corkscrew. And the increasing variety of ready-to-consume mixed drinks means they don’t have remember to pick up all the ingredients necessary to make these drinks themselves.

Some examples of suppliers at Global Wine, Beer & Spirits catering to this trends are:

  • Buzzballz are ready to drink mixed cocktails made from 100% Juices, and either Vodka, Rum, or Tequila. The drinks come in recyclable plastic containers that, according to the company, “are perfect for the beach, camping, pool, tailgating, picnics, or the Jacuzzi.”
  • Maven Cocktails mingles premium gluten-free vodka and super premium wine with all natural flavors packaged in a single-serve frosted glass bottle with a re-sealable cap.
  • Lieutenant Blender’s Cocktails in a Bag and Wine Freezers were developed to provide consumers with an easy way to make cocktails, with no blender, no long shopping list, and absolutely no mixology skills needed.
  • BeTini Spirits offers premium mixed cocktails in ready-to-drink packaging.
Each of these companies market themselves as a way for consumers to add sophistication to their gatherings (see the BeTini video below), without the need for sophisticated spirits know-how. And with Millennial consumers’ interest in quality adult beverage products and in saving time, we’ll likely be seeing more of these offerings in coming months.

And while even these drinks may not help add sophistication to a tailgating party, they will certainly add variety!

Joseph Tarnowski

VP Content

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