Between 2005 and 2008, there has been a 20% drop in the number of people who say they most often drink wine over beer and spirits.
Between 2005 and 2008 there has been a 27% drop in the number of 30 to 49 year olds that say they most often drink wine over beer and spirits.
…All according to a recent Gallup poll.
Why are fewer Americans, particularly those in the 30 to 50 year old group, finding reason to choose wine less often? First, let’s look at the trends.
It’s hard not to notice that something happened in 2004 and 2005 to disrupt a fairly consistent trend of around 33-34 percent of Americans choosing wine over other alcohols. That spike you see in 2005, particularly when compared to what came before and what has come after, appears to be an anomaly. It would be nice to know what caused it.
In 2004 Sideways came out in the theaters, it was a hit, and it clearly spurred the discovery of Pinot Noir among your average drinker. Were the 2005 numbers in the Gallup Poll the "Sideways Effect"? Consider something else. In 2005 we got the Supreme Court decision on direct shipping, again bringing wine in to the view of more Americans. In addition, during this time, the mid 00s, we were getting consistent news about wine’s health benefits, culminating in the mice study concerning the fat burning effects of Resevrotrol.
Perhaps these things account for the strange jump in those who, in 2005, said they choose wine over other other drinks.
What’s even more interesting is the near 10% drop between 2007 and 2008 in the number of Americans that say they choose wine over other alcohol drinks. I’d be willing to bet this is economy related. Note a similar drop between 1999 and 2000, the last time we began to move into a recession. And note that at that same time beer saw an increase in the number of people who choose it first, just as it has in 2008.
Wine obviously remains the a fair economy splurge for a certain percentage of drinkers who appear to give it up when finances get a little tight. This also means that the trend that set in around 2000 that had beer drinkers at consistent 42% and wine drinkers at a consistent 32-34% is probably still in place when adjusted for recessionary forces.
Of course this leads to the question that has always been asked by the wine industry. What can be done to move more people into wine drinking naturally, rather than count on increased wine drinking only during momentary media attention. As I think I’ve said before, I’m pretty sure this is accomplished by creating sustained attention for wine from pop culture icons, institutions and entities.
So here’s something to consider.
The wine industry in CA does not fund a marketing institution. The Wine Institute and Family Winemakers of California deal with regulatory issues, not marketing issues. What would be the difference in the number of people who choose wine over beer if there had been in place for the past 15 years a well funded institution dedicated to promoting CA wines (or just wine in general) nationwide???
Would the Gallup Chart now look like this: