Au revoir young wine drinkers! WSJ surveys Europe on drinks

If you had to guess, where would you find a third of the population doesn’t drink any alcohol: the USA, founded by Puritans, or Europe, largest producer of wine?

Well, if you guessed either (or both), you’d be right according to a comprehensive survey undertaken by market-research firm GfK for the Wall Street Journal and reported there on Friday.

But even more eyebrow-raising than the overall number of teetotalers in Europe is wine’s relative unpopularity, particularly among younger cohorts in wine producing countries. Consider Spain, the third largest wine producer in the world by volume. There, of respondents who drink alcohol, beer outstripped wine by a two to one margin.

But if you break it down by age, 48% of the youngest cohort (14-29 year olds) favors beer as their “preferred” alcoholic drink, with distilled spirits coming in second with 28%, cocktails third with 14%, and wine a distant fourth with only eight percent. Overall, the preferred drinks youngest Western Europeans in the survey are beer (44%), wine (22%), cocktails (17%), and distilled spirits (14%). The 14-29 year olds respondents in France and Italy, the two largest wine producing countries, both preferred beer to wine but the percentages preferring wine (24 and 29% respectively) were above the Western European average.

Interestingly, to round out what might be termed a rebellion effect, 14-29 year olds in the UK, a country that has historically had no wine production and taxes it particularly heavily when compared to beer, preferred beer and wine just the same with each drink getting 28%.

The next oldest group like wine more but it’s not until the 50+ year olds that wine comes out as the drink of choice at the Western European level. Overall, wine was the preferred drink of of those who drink alcohol 43 to 34 over beer, with spirits and cocktails getting nine and eight percent respectively.

European wine producers must love the Swiss who, along with the Italians, say the prefer wine the most with 62 percent of respondents in those countries favoring wine.

Of course surveys of attitudes toward drink can be fickle as the annual Gallup drinks survey has shown here in the US the past few years, but this one provides a lot of fine grained data with 17,000 respondents and and excel file available with detailed responses. Check it out and let us know what you find most surprising.

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5 Responses to “Au revoir young wine drinkers! WSJ surveys Europe on drinks”

  1. Sounds about right most People I know and work with would rather drink beer as a drink to relax to but wine as a more intimate dinner drink. I drink wine over beer just because I’m not a big fan of beer.

  2. There are a few conclusions to be drawn. First is the rebellion effect you mentioned, or the “old” perception given to wine and wine drinkers. Youth in these countries may stay away from wine as their drink of choice because, “that’s what my parents drink.” Thus making it uncool.
    Another factor is accessibility, not to be confused with availability, beer brands have always had a larger messaging presence in the lives of these youth than wine brands; Ads which promote a youthful spirit, humor, etc. There’s certainly a limit on the types of wine advertising you see, and even then, it would be more rare to see humor as a device to sell these traits. Finally, all of this can be coupled with the fact that youth may find greater value for their money in purchasing beer instead of wine, or at least perceived value. Consider the amount of beer once can purchase compared to the amount of wine, and, in terms of sharing, beer can be drunk straight from the bottle, no stemware required.

  3. That’s really interesting! Thanks for sharing it.

  4. […] Source: Dr Vino […]

  5. The preferences of young people have been molded by the globalization of certain cultural features like those from the USA. That could be one of the major reasons that leads to such a barbaric behavior. I mean preferring beer over wine.
    It’s only a matter of time, those spoiled youngs would be soon grown up and educated on their own cultural standards.
    We, my friends and I, prefer wine. Beer is just for the beach. Only good beer, please; not that waterlike Budw…


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