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Anatomy of American Alcohol Consumption

on 09/07/14 at 9:44 pm

Booze News

Americans are drinking less beer, but more wine and spirits, according to data from Euromonitor International.

OG-AB916_americ_G_20140707122656The trend, according to the research firm’s senior alcoholic drinks analyst Spiros Malandrakis, has to do with story as much as substance. Big beer companies have remained pretty complacent in flavor and instead have focused on predictable advertising and discounts to boost sales, he said. (Craft beer, a sector that is known for its innovation in beer’s flavor, has seen huge growth but only makes up 8% of the total beer market.)

The same old thing isn’t doing it for millennials, who are looking for innovation in taste as well as a compelling backstory, Mr. Malandrakis says. Mr. Malandrakis sees innovation in flavored vodkas, but even more successfully in the marketing of Irish Whiskey and American Bourbon. “Spirits managed to capture the zeitgeist much better, using prohibition-inspired themes and pop culture,” he said.

Craft beers, spirits and, to an extent, wine have also managed to capitalize on local movements, in which people want to know where ingredients are coming from and how they’re prepared. Mr. Malandrakis dismisses the idea that the drop in big beer sales has anything to do with calories: “Real people don’t go out drinking to get thin,” he said. “They do it for indulgence.”