Frequent 1WD readers know that I get a bit, er, cantankerous when I notice long-standing wine industry types make wildly speculative – or even downright inaccurate – claims about how the wine industry functions, without citing any data in support of their crap claims.
This happens (just a guesstimate) roughly every seven minutes or so (many bloggers succumb to this as well, so I’m not picking on any particular kind of medium here).
In a small attempt to help bring the smack-down on such rampant speculative behaviour by those who ought to know better, during my recent stint at Wineries & Breweries Unlimited 2014 in Richmond I decided to sit in on a (not-surprisingly somewhat poorly attended) session where real data were presented.
“Emerging Trends within Beverage Alcohol” was a presentation highlighting what’s actually happening in the wine world right now, from a consumer perspective, and was given by Nielsen’s Elizabeth Crews (Vice President/Analytic Lead for Nielsen’s Beverage Alcohol Practice Area), based on a combination of information collected at retail scans, via consumer panels, and through actual account data. It’s probably not perfect, but it’s also probably as close to perfect as we’re going to get when it comes to consumer trends in wine in the U.S.
Here are my notes on the session, sans commentary, and based on the data presented (I’m paraphrasing, which will piss off some people I’m sure, but it’s because I don’t have access yet to the actual numbers that were shown; if I can get them, and/or the presentation itself, I’ll post them here). Bottom lines: if you think Millennials and GenX aren’t key to the future of fine wine sales, you’re probably wrong; if you think beer and other adult beverages won’t come gunning for wine drinkers in terms of media spend, you’re also probably wrong; if you think expensive fine wine has no real market after the recession, you’re… wait for it… wrong; if you think blends can’t be popular because they’re not taking advantage of the brand recognition of well-known grape varieties, you’re also, maybe… wrong; and if you think Malbec is dead in the wine sales water, you’re very wrong.
My aim here is posting this is largely selfish, in that I strongly suspect that I’ll be linking back to this post incessantly when commenting on other websites, to deliver smack-downs on the under-supported speculation that seems rampant online and in Op-Ed pieces right now. And yes, I realize those efforts are totally Sisyphusian, but I just can’t help myself…