The Pour Report: 2018 Millennial Drinking Trends

Oct. 18, 2018

the pour report: 2018 millennial trends


For on- and off-premise alcohol businesses alike, what millennials are drinking matters—a lot.

As we’ve previously reported, the demographic is quite possibly the most influential, and prolific, buyer of alcohol. As millennial drink preferences evolve, industry professionals, including bartenders, retailers and suppliers, must take notice of how this age group is consuming alcohol.

Bank of America recently published a comprehensive report on what millennials are drinking, and we wanted to call out some of the key highlights.

Lifting Spirits Over Beer

Millennial preferences for spirits is now higher than beer.

blue pie chart highlighting beer wine and spirits stats for 2018

While at face value this may seem like a slight against the status of beer consumption, it’s really not. Beer’s overall share of alcohol consumption is significantly higher than that of spirits, so a seismic volume shift still has a way to go.

One reason some millennials are ordering more spirits is because of the reduction in calories, with health and wellness being cited as the reason for the switch. In fact, 60% of millennials often opt for a lower calorie drink.

The vodka category, in particular, has enjoyed this trend with a bump in consumption in 2018 (more on this later).

Overall Consumption Steady, Trying New Products Up

Most millennials are roughly consuming about the same amount of alcohol as they did in 2017.

blue drinking glass shaped chart highlighting consumer consumption stats for 2018

Of the millennials surveyed in this report, 45% of those drinking the same or less (many older millennials) are less price sensitive and purchasing more expensive products—especially new brands, as millennials tend to be less brand loyal and are willing to explore new brands.

Staying In is In

An increased number of millennials in 2018 indicated that their drinking is primarily occasion based, especially when they don’t have to go out.

Home-tainment” is a growing trend among millennial consumers, as more of them prefer to drink at their own home or a family or friend’s home (56% in 2018 vs. 50% in 2017).

What’s Pouring?

Vodka remains the most popular drink among millennial consumers, with 70% of them enjoying the clear liquor during the last 12 months. Furthermore, five of the top 10 selling spirit brands were vodka.

Here’s a year-over-year breakdown of the top drinks that millennials have consumed this year.

2018 statistics on popular alcohol categories with yoy change

Statistics courtesy of Bank of America Analytics

Read Next Article See all Group news

email delivery truck icon

Get news delivered directly to your inbox.

Join our email marketing program for weekly updates on the latest industry trends, product innovations and news.