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These Are 21+ Millennials’ 21 Favorite Alcoholic Beverage Brands

Young drinkers are continuing to disrupt the spirits industry with shifting tastes—so what are their favorite alcoholic beverage brands today? We asked 21-35-year-olds to find out…

Ever since the first edge of Millennials hit the 21-year-old mark, the generation has been changing the spirits industry with their disruptive preferences—and it shows no signs of slowing down. The peak birth year of the generation is 1990, making the largest cohort of Millennials 27-years-old today, not only well within drinking age, but with enough spending power to shift the market.

Whiskey’s U.S. sales increased by 7.7% in 2016, mostly driven by young consumer’s interest in “authentic” products like bourbon, rye, and Tennessee whiskey. For the seventh year in a row it has taken a piece of beer’s market share, which has decreased by 3.5% since 2009. Wine is another example: While Millennials may only make up 29% of wine drinkers in the world, they account for 34% of total wine consumed. According to Infiniti Research, younger drinkers’ healthy preferences are giving a boost to the global organic wine market, which is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 9.98% until 2021. Young drinkers’ love of #RoséAllDay is also eating into Champagne’s business. The generation has said “yes way, rosé” so much (there’s even a festival dedicated to it) that the beverage is reportedly growing at an unprecedented rate, with sparkling rosé alone growing 19% year-over-year—more than double that of other sparkling wines. Experts say that the growth is driven by Millennials, who “want to discover something for themselves,” want “affordable luxury,” and are more open than older drinkers to breaking the wine “rules.” Which means they’ll drink rosé all year round instead of just summer and special occasions.

Their tastes are fueling these changes and brands are rushing to catch up—so what is drinking age Millennials’ favorite alcoholic beverage brand right now? In our drinking and nightlife monthly survey, we asked 21-35-year-olds to tell us.* Here are their top 21:

*This was an open-end response question to allow us to capture the full range of alcoholic beverage brands that Millennials 21+ say are their favorites—without our preconceived ideas shaping their responses. As with any qualitative question, the responses include those that are top of mind and those that are most popular. The lists are ordered according to number of responses received, and alphabetically when ties occurred.

What’s Their Favorite Alcoholic Beverage Brand?


  1. Specific wine label
  2. Craft Beer
  3. Jack Daniels
  4. Budweiser / Bud Light
  5. Smirnoff
  6. Corona
  7. Angry Orchard
  8. Miller / Miller Light
  9. Captain Morgan
  10. Heineken
  11. Titos
  12. Blue Moon
  13. Mike’s Hard Lemonade
  14. Bacardi
  15. Absolut
  16. Ciroc
  17. Jameson
  18. Stella Artois
  19. Craft Cider
  20. Patron
  21. Sam Adams

In a slight shift from last year’s ranking, wine took the top spot on the list of 21-35-year-olds’ favorite alcoholic beverage brand right now. Because there are so many wine labels, we combine the individual mentions to represent their interest in wine brands overall. Interestingly, this shift in our list might reflect a shift in the market. Despite young adults’ affinity for local, craft brews, Goldman Sachs reports that they’re “shifting away from beer,” drinking less than previous generations, and “trading” consumption for wine, spirits, and marijuana. Goldman reports a 22% decline in beer consumption since the ‘80s, while marijuana consumption has increased 18%. They estimate that beer volume in the U.S. will decline 0.7% this year because of the trends.

But craft beer labels are still number two on the list. Millennials have been accused of “destroying the beer industry”—but in truth they may just be less likely to love big brands. UBS measured brand equity among all alcohol consumers and stacked it up against Millennials’, and found that Millennials reaped lower results for every major brand they included—except Stella Artois, Dos Equis, and Miller. Beer may be losing luster for Millennials, who love to drink wine and are making sobriety fun—but since so many 21-35-year-olds tell us craft brews are their favorite alcoholic brands, “destroying” might be a strong word for the way they’re changing the industry. 

To download the PDF version of this insight article, click here