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US: Rosé wine is getting big and challenging beer’s territory

American Millennials are increasingly swapping a can of beer for a glass of rosé wine.

The rosé category reached a valuation of $389-million in January, Bloomberg reported, based on Nielsen data.

Rosé consumption increased 57% in the last 52 weeks in dollar terms, while beer dropped 0.6%.

While the amount of rosé sold in the US is clearly tiny compared to the $37-billion beer industry, the plucky wine upstart’s success is yet another chink in the armor of the reigning American alcoholic champion.

In late July, Goldman Sachs downgraded both Boston Beer Company and Constellation Brand based on the data that younger consumers prefer wine and spirits to beer, as well as the fact that they’re drinking less alcohol than older generations more generally.

Beer penetration fell 1% from 2016 to 2017 in the US market, while both wine and spirits were unmoved, according to Nielsen ratings.

While some argue that calling a 1% drop in penetration a beer-industry homicide case is an overreaction, small shifts have a huge financial impact on beer industry giants.

Beer already lost 10% of market share to wine and hard liquor from 2006 to 2016. And, at least some beer industry insiders are thinking of the rise of wine and spirits in even more dramatic terms.

“This armada of boats is coming across the Atlantic to crush us and we are shooting each other with, you know, muskets and slingshots,” Walt Dickinson, a co-founder of craft brewer Wicked Weed, which was acquired by AB InBev in May, recently said of squabbles between independent brewers and giants of the industry.

According to Dickinson, the “armada of boats” preparing to crush the beer industry is wine and spirits — an opinion shared by a number of other craft brewers who appeared in an AB InBev video on the topic.

Just two years ago, the beer industry only had to fight the rise of liquor, red wine, and white wine. Now, it has another problem: rosé.


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