It won’t be Dry January forever. Here are young Europeans’ favorite alcohol brands…
Since YPulse first explored young consumers’ move towards moderation in our Sobriety Shift trend report, Millennials’ sober curiosity has continued to grow. Our recent WE drinking and nightlife survey found that one-third of young consumers 18+ in Western Europe make a conscious effort to limit how much they drink, and 43% are participating in this year’s Dry January, the yearly ritual of abstaining from alcohol for the month to start the year off right and counteract the holidays’ overindulgence. In fact, Dry January has gotten so big that brands such as Heineken are running massive Dry January campaigns while the U.K.’s hospitality industry is urging consumers to continue visiting the pubs for fear of losing too much business.
But while moderation has certainly surged, it’s important to note that Europeans 18+ have not stopped drinking altogether. In fact, more than three-quarters say they drink at least sometimes, and the largest portion (28%) drink weekly. And for those who do drink, trying new brands, flavors, and cocktails is part of the fun. While that means that many aren’t loyal to one label, the majority do say that they tend to stick to one go-to. So who’s winning out with them right now? In our recent survey, we asked 18-39-year-olds in Western Europe, “Thinking about alcoholic drinks, what is your favorite alcohol beverage brand?” Here are their top 20 answers:
Their Favorite Alcohol Brands
- Wine / Champagne brand
- Craft beer brand
- Jack Daniel’s
- Captain Morgan
- Estrella Galicia
- Absolut Vodka
Wine and craft beer have long been popular among Millennials, and when we combined mentions of individual wine and craft beer brands, these two beverages top young Europeans’ list of favorites, too. When we asked them to choose their top go-to drink from a list of provided answers, light beer, craft beer, and white wine were three of their top four answers, with custom cocktails coming in second. For young women, white wine is their second top go-to drink after custom cocktails while young males, light beer and craft beer top their list.
Beyond the combined craft labels, beer brands dominate young Europeans’ list of favorites, with eight out of the 20 most-mentioned brands being breweries. The Norwegian turned global brand Heineken is the most popular, and likely not just because of its international reach. In addition to producing a popular brew, Heineken has continued to reach young consumers by developing new products and launching campaigns that align with Gen Z and Millennial values. Earlier this month, Heineken released the first alcohol-free draught beer on a mass scale across U.K. pubs, tapping into the sober-curious trend along with its Dry January ad, which highlights the difficulty of abstaining from alcohol in social situations, only to offer the solution—Heineken 0.0, its boozeless beer. The brewery has also tapped young Europeans’ progressive proclivities by becoming the official sponsor of three major women’s football and motorsport leagues and events in Europe, diversifying the boys’ clubs of both beer and sports.
Farther down on the list are several more European beer brands, including Italy’s Peroni, which has also made strides with young consumers by tapping their interests, as well as Ichnusa, the Sardinian brand that also made young Europeans’ list of coolest brands. Spanish beer Estrella Galicia also made the list after creating a special edition brew for the popular Netflix show Money Heist (La Casa de Papel). The Spanish series skyrocketed in popularity in 2020 and globally became one of Netflix’s most popular shows—and one of young Europeans’ favorites. Estrella Galicia successfully tapped this hype with 85 million bottles of Heist-themed beers, which hit the international market.
Long-time British rum favorite Captain Morgan, which came in fifth on the list, also rode Money Heist’s coattails (albeit more subtly) with a heist-themed ad, which was part of the brand’s larger ‘Better than gold’ campaign. In addition to the ad, the campaign included an Instagram treasure hunt as well as a rewards card in partnership with Havas’ Cake, which offered participants recipe kits, discounts, branded merchandise and opportunities to game with YouTube influencers.
While many brands are likely popular with young Europeans for reasons beyond their creative campaigns, the truth is that the alcoholic beverage industry has become more competitive as young consumers’ tastes shift, and as they look for more authentic interactions with brands overall. While many standbys are still considered favorites, when moderation-leaning young Europeans do drink, brands that tap their unique passions will likely be the first to fill their glasses.
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