The most recent player is 7-Eleven, which convened a focus group of millennials before launching its latest line of proprietary wines about two weeks ago. The brand, called Cherrywood Cellars, is priced at $7.99 to $8.99 to lure young adult drinkers whom the convenience store chain says might be watching their wallets more closely than Gen X-ers and baby boomers during the economic downturn.
"We are targeting millennials because they like convenience and to try new products," Jesus Delgado-Jenkins, 7-Eleven's senior VP-merchandising and logistics, said in a statement.
Although beer remains the beverage of choice for millennials, accounting for 42% of their alcoholic drinks, wine captures 20% — up from 13% for Gen Xers when they were a similar age 10 years ago, according to Nielsen. Drinkers tend to shift to spirits and wine as they get older. If that trend holds, wine will account for 26% of all alcoholic drinks consumed by all U.S. generations in 10 years, up from 24% today, while beer will fall from 41% to 38%, according to Nielsen.
"The millennial generation offers the wine industry the kind of growth potential not seen in more than 30 years," noted the Wine Market Council in its 2009 consumer tracking study.
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