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Distillers Marketing to Millennials: It’s All About the Experience

Published Feb 2, 2018

No matter what industry you’re in, reaching the right customer demographic can be a challenge. And the same goes for distillers marketing to millennials. Brands not only need to reach this group, but they need to know how to talk with them.

Distillers Marketing to Millennials

As the largest living generation, Millennials are the demographic every brand wants on their side.


Millennials, those born between the early 1980s and early 2000s, are the largest alcohol-consuming segment in the U.S. at 36%. Compared to boomers at 34% and Gen Xers at 18%, millennials (ages 18-29) are drinking more which opens the door for ripe opportunities for savvy distillery marketing.

But, reaching this thirsty audience is more than just about properly setting up your Facebook ad demographics. There’s a certain marketing psychology that must be leveraged in order to successfully connect with this growing pop.

Shaken, Not Stirred: It’s All About the Experience

Millennials thrive on experiences. In fact, three out of four millennials would rather pay for an experience than a product. As a result, brands must focus on experience innovation starting by building authentic relationships with consumers.

Generate a Buzz

Considering more than 60% of millennials use social media daily, distillers must meet them there. Are you on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube. If you said yes, that’s good. But the real question becomes, when was the last time you posted an engaging update?

True, alcohol brands are up against some tough regulatory challenges. Figuring out how to generate social buzz becomes half the battle for distillery brands who are forced to deal with “age-gate” (meaning that their users must go through an age verification process to connect with the brand).

But once you get around those daunting industry regulations, leveraging brand engagement will be your key to build loyal customers, especially if they are millennials.

So, keep it current and stay authentic.

Keep it Real

Notice in the first paragraph we said “talk with them”…not “talk to them.”

Millennials love the opportunity to share posts, but not when content feels deceptive or too generic. This audience needs to feel a connection between the brand and their values…and they can smell tainted wine a mile away. Stay away from spammy posts or annoying content, which will only cause people to unfollow.

Instead, take the time to tap into millennials’ love for experiences by responding to comments, encouraging fans to show off their drink pictures and analyzing what successful brands are doing.

Sexy Spirits: What Are the Big Brands Doing?

Big brands look for ways to enhance the customer journey by offering innovative touchpoints that give brand fans more opportunities to connect.

Tell Your Story

You love what you do, talk about it. Millennials love that! On social media, Jack Daniels uses a strong storytelling approach, instead of pushing promotions or sales. The popular whisky brand often shares content that has a nostalgic feel, giving fans a look into the distillery’s rich history and values.

Write an authentic story about a milestone, recent activity or event and use that content to make a splash on social media.

Encourage Participation

For others, it’s about innovative packaging that encourage more participation opportunities. Brands such as Mondavi are putting single servings of their wine in cool-looking recyclable (also unbreakable) bottles to drive brand loyalty among millennials going to concerts and sporting events.

This opens the doors for more photo sharing and campaign opportunities for social.

Take it Offline

Finding ways to encouraging your community to participate helps fans get in the spirit. Jameson, for example, has created unique experiences to reach millennial consumers at their Dublin distillery. Designed to appeal to different kinds of Jameson whiskey fans, from the avid loyalists to the casual drinker, their experience includes hearing about the Jameson brand story, a whiskey tasting, cocktail masterclass that explores a more in-depth Jameson’s recipe and tour to visit the Maturation warehouse where participants get to sample whiskey straight from the cask.

If a live tour is not an option, consider generating a rich virtual experience to drive excitement and keep the conversation going.

Fine Tune Marketing to Millennials

The important thing to note here is that millennials don’t mind change. They actually like disruption…so don’t be afraid to brew up a fresh strategy and experiment with new marketing ideas for your distillery.

Depending on your brand’s specific needs, CMDS will work with you to develop a strategic marketing plan, fine tune your existing brand messaging and gain practical insight into reaching your target audience, including millennials.

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