My original pitch to the hardworking, hard thinking, patient editor and publisher of Motif went like this:
“Millennial drinking habits are different!”
They were intrigued, but, really, why should we care about the idea of Millennial drinking habits being so different from the drinking generations preceding them? Because, drinking readers, these things impact beverage production, availability, importing/exporting, prices and more — in more diffuse ways than history will tell of the Trump Steel Tariff of 1918, erm, 2018.
Call this my Magic 8-Ball of Booze Predictions. Based on the current evidence, the short of it: Wine consumption is up. Spirits consumption continues to rise. Ciders are up. Beer is down.
Expect the Craft Brewery Bubble to Continue to Burst
Don’t cry just yet. This doesn’t mean every local brewery will go the way of all good old breweries across a rainbow bridge. But it does mean a shake up, and some will be lost as the latest of-age drinkers consume less beer. If you are a beer fan, it may do well to practice loyalty to some of the locals you wish to see around for years to come.
Expect to See More Distilleries Opening
That’s right — in Rhode Island, maybe even Providence. Eventually, expect to see distilleries being bought by bigger national/international conglomerates. Over the next few years, watch out for brand dilution. And eventually, a bursting bubble. Or at least a fizz out of sorts.
Expect to See More Convenience Cocktails
Cocktails in cans. Cocktails on draft. Yes. Delicious pre-made cocktails at your disposal. No, not the yellow-hued 5% juice mixed up grain alcohol jugs on the bottom shelf of the packy. We’re talking high quality, lower sugar and real-juiced cocktails in cans. Also, expect to see cocktails on draft at your favorite cocktail bars and restaurants.
But pay attention to who’s making them. And, more importantly, whether you like the drink.
Expect to See More Health-Related Alcohol Fusions
Some of you may already be kombucha aficionados. Well, expect higher alcohol kombucha to hit the shelves near you. With more and more health focus moving away from at-will consumption (as in drink whenever you want), some brands are looking to add a take to the healthy living component. We bet you’ll see more tea and fresh juice-related alcohol. But don’t hold your breath on wheat grass booze. We hope.
Expect to See Rosé Sticking Around
Also just say no to blue wine <— THAT, my friends, is NOT a nice way to treat any wine, even a crappy one. And. You will still get to wear, or have to deal with seeing, those Rosé All Day t-shirts. It’s worth the burden.
Expect to See Sparkling Wine Continue to Rise
Maybe even in a can! There are a few already canned, but more importantly, look for quality sparkling wine. It does not have to be champagne to be great, nor does it have to be pricey. But do a little homework to see about the value of what’s bubbling up in front of you.
So, Expect to See More Wine in a Can and in a BiB
And better wine at that. You can expect to see higher quality wines in different formats for your drinking convenience. I myself have a few favorite BiBs that can be found in high quality wine shops throughout the state.
[BiB = Bag in Box wine, way cooler than boxed wine]
Expect More Non-age Statements in Whisk(e)y
It’s already getting harder to grab age statements in Japanese and Scotch Whisky. Across the board, many distilleries are moving to non-age statement whisk(e)y. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Age is a singular statement of perceived quality, but only one factor in what determines a tasty bourbon, rye, Scotch, etc.
Expect More and Weirder Liquor
Keep your eyes out for interesting imports from all over the world. Amaro, vermouths, liqueurs and other fun styles of spirits are increasingly finding their way to the US. Mezcal will continue to rise, but don’t be shocked if a while down the road we see tequila becoming difficult to get. That’s worthy of a whole different article, though.
Expect More Cider, Both Good and Crappy
What you like is what you like whether it’s deemed “crappy” or not, but a point of contention in cider is what makes the cider. In other words, fresh pressed juice, juice concentrate, added sugar, added flavor??? What do you want to deal with when you sip that delicious apple thing in front of you?
Don’t expect to see more gastropubs.
Don’t expect all booze to be created equal. There’s a lot of marketing out there.
Don’t expect yourself to love riding the trend wave. Drink what you like, in moderation, of course.
Don’t expect to see your ex drinking wine out of a can. Just kidding. Don’t expect to see your ex, ever, if you’re lucky. Nevermind. You’re not that lucky. Just drink.
Writer’s Caveat: I wrote this piece with a bit of mirth and a sizable pour of brandy in my glass. I’m also employed in the beverage industry. This is all my take inspired by a lot of well-researched pieces out there by trade and consumer publications.