Pour one out for all the people no longer pouring one out: CNN Business reports that wine consumption in the U.S. has dropped for the first time in 25 years. Wine was already on the decline among millennials, but now the overall number of wine drinkers has also fallen. Cue one million wine moms quipping that they’ll help the struggling industry however they can, ha ha! It’s not just wine that’s taking a hit, either; beer sales have declined for the fourth year in a row. But one booze sector is booming, and that’s the ready-to-drink category—the industry code word for “White Claw.”
Thanks to spiked seltzer (now an $8 billion industry in itself), sales in the ready-to-drink category surged by 50% last year. Not only that, but sales of hard fizzy drinks like White Claw, Truly, and Bon & Viv are expected to triple in the next three years. What started as a summertime novelty beverage might soon have the power to supplant the Bud Light cans in the tight grip of dads milling around the grill at cookouts nationwide.
Sales of spirits also grew last year, with Tito’s toppling Smirnoff as the best-selling vodka in the U.S. This is a big deal, because it suggests that consumers are willingly paying more for higher quality premium products. Could America’s love affair with Two-Buck Chuck be good and truly over?