How would you describe a mouthful of your beer? You can bet any avid beer-drinking millennial could answer that question in such detail, that you can almost taste it yourself by simply listening to their description. Characteristics of millennials cover a wide variety of interests and stereotypes, but if you look past the man buns and leggings-for-pants, you will find a genuine appreciation for craft beer within this unique demographic. We aren't just beer drinkers, we're beer enthusiasts.
When it comes down to which approach to beer branding or brewery branding will attract the millennial consumer, it's important that you first establish an authentic flair for your brand, one that communicates the story of your brand in such a way that will resonate with these young adults.
Who is the Millennial?
A millennial is a person born between the 80s and 1994; the youngest of which may be in college, and in any range of age be on the path to a career, a family, or an adventure. No matter the walk of life, the millennial generation has passed the 21 year-old mark, and certainly know a thing or two about what we want to experience in our brew. To better understand this outspoken generation and our taste for beer, here are 5 characteristics of millennial beer drinkers you need to know.
1. Culture Enthusiasts
Take your commercial beer branding notions and set them aside. Our generation wants to feel like we can taste the cultural influence behind the beer with every sip. Whether it tastes like we are out with our mates in a pub in Ireland, or returning from the line of duty with fellow members of the armed forces, millennials value an experience that feels genuine to drinking the brew. The culture-enthused characteristic of millennial beer-drinkers plays into the desire to create unity and a sense of belonging.
2. Local Over National
Take a look at the bottles and cans that draw us in, and you will notice a common trend towards hometown beer brands. It has to feel original and/or local when we drink it. Our generation is growing out of our college days of partying, while still enjoying the novelty of having a good time with friends on the square downtown. Small town beer branding and brewery branding has a knack for making it feel like you are part of their success story, a feeling millennials strongly desire, similar to our attraction to small start-up companies and their potential to become a big success. Rather than commercializing your brand into a million-dollar national beer, think local. We are local beer drinkers.
3. Flavor Profilers
The millennial beer drinker is well-versed in what to look for in a beer. It isn’t about drinking for the sake of drinking. It’s about finding the flavor that fits our identity. What is the aroma? What is the color? How does it taste and feel? These beer drinkers have developed sophisticated beer palettes, and are paying close attention to flavor, the amount of carbonation and IBUs (International Bitterness Units). We've matured past the excitement of waiting until the mountains turn blue, and have realized it's what's inside the bottle that matters.
Image Source: Anthem Branding; Client: Twisted Pine Brewing Co.
4. Brewery Branding Hipsters
Of all of the identified characteristics of millennials, this may be one of the most interesting: As every true "hipster" does, millennial beer enthusiasts somehow manage to find their favorite craft beer before it's even brewed. They're drinking a brand most people have never heard of, from a place most people don't even know exists. Craft your beer with authenticity and the millennial beer drinker will make it the next big thing, because they discovered it first. But keep in mind, once your beer hits the mainstream, these beer hipsters are onto the next. #beerhipster
5. Beer Brand Ambassadors
Of course, a brewery won’t make it far in the millennial culture without a unique beer brand identity. With the recent rise in the number of breweries across the United States, beer drinkers are constantly looking for insight on which brewery to try next. Translating your brand identity into well-designed, brand merchandise creates an opportunity for your rabid fans to become brand ambassadors, and promote your brewery in their every day lives.
Avery Brewing Co., for example, has done this extremely well by partnering with our branding agency to curate fully custom items for purchase. From brimmed hats and beanies, to hoodies and bomber jackets, all of the pieces cohesively express the ethos of their brand.
Image Source: Anthem Branding; Client: Avery Brewing Co.
So, how do you go about incorporating these characteristics into your beer brand? Partner with us build your authentic brand story and start connecting with the millennial generation.
Want to learn more about millennials in the craft beer space? Check out our recent article, Craft Brewers: Marketing to Millennials.