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More people are reaching for a glass of rosé at the bar.

Mike Pomranz
August 16, 2017

If you’ve found yourself gravitating towards wine and spirits instead of beer during your recent nights out on the town, you’re not alone. According to recently released data from the well-known market research firm Nielsen, over the past year, on-premise wine and booze sales have seen growth while beer sales are actually declining.

During the 52-week period ending on June 17, beer sales were down over 2 percent; meanwhile, wine and spirit sales were up 1.5 percent and 1.6 percent respectively, according to Brewbound. Part of the problem may be that, despite all the new beer styles on the market today, simply grabbing a beer at the bar has become a bit old hat. “Given that on-premise visits continue to be rooted in ‘experience’ rather than a ‘habit,’ it has never been more important for suppliers and retailers to understand, and activate against, specific consumer needs, occasions and repertoires,” said Scott Elliot, the senior vice president of Nielsen CGA.

That same disparity held true for off-premise sales as well, according to Nielsen, though at least beer sales weren’t declining… barely. During the same period, off-premise spirit sales were up 2.2 percent, wine sales were up 1.4 percent and beer sales were up a meager 0.1 percent.

A slowdown in sales for the craft beer craze is partially to blame. The segment “decelerated sharply in both channels over the past year,” Nielsen said. Meanwhile, rosé helped bolster wine sales with off-premise numbers that Nielsen described as “out of this world.”

In general, however, Nielsen said that young people are simply looking to try something different. “On-premise visitors are seeking out new experiences and outlet styles, with brewpubs, tasting rooms and tiki bars especially popular among younger millennials,” said Elliot. Obviously, a growth in tiki bars is bad news for beer as well: A beer never looks cool with a tiny little umbrella in it.