Young people drank nearly half of all wine in the U.S. last year

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Seventy-nine million Americans aged 21-38 drank 159.6 million cases of wine in 2015—42% of all wine consumed last year, according to a new report.

As detailed in Wine Spectator, the Wine Market Council (WMC) found that young adults drank an average of two cases (24 bottles) per person—more than any other generation. Young adults accounted for 30% of high-frequency drinkers, defined as those who consume wine several times per week or daily, while Baby Boomers were 38% and Gen Xers 20%.


The surge is mostly being led by women, who accounted for 57% of wine volume in the U.S. "Highly involved" female wine drinkers, defined as those who consider themselves knowledgable about wine, were mostly young adults "skewing slightly older," and also more ethnically diverse than the typical female wine drinker, the study found.

The one caveat to all this wine consumption is that it's being done in tandem with other drinks. The study found that 40% more young adults than the overall adult population drink beer, wine, and spirits at least several times a year, while only 4% of young adults drink only wine several times a year or more. Of the total $216 billion consumers annually spend on beverage alcohol (both on and off premise), $104 billion is spent on beer, $80 billion on spirits, and $32 billion on wine.


Still, young adults are increasingly willing to shell out for a good bottle. The council found that 17% of all young adult wine drinkers had bought a bottle costing over $20 in the past month, compared to 10% of all drinkers, and 5% of Baby Boomers. Here's your money quote:

"Wine drinkers are beginning to sort themselves out," John Gillespie, president of the WMC, said according to the Spectator. "It's the self-identification of, 'Yeah, I'm a wine person.'"

Rob covers business, economics and the environment for Fusion. He previously worked at Business Insider. He grew up in Chicago.