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A winemaker is wooing millennials as Americans back away from the bar

A growing number of Americans are drinking less booze, effectively forcing traditional players in the alcohol industry to diversify and revamp their strategies.

According to recent data from IWSR, total domestic alcohol consumption hit a third straight year of declines in 2018, even as niche brands rise in popularity.

Yet one California wine executive contends his brand is actually increasing in popularity with millennials.

“Our sales to millennials have doubled in the last couple of years,” David Duncan, Silver Oak Cellars CEO, told Yahoo Finance’s YFi PM. 

Duncan explains the value for consumers lies with Silver Oak Cellar’s decades-long history -- the winemaker began making their cabernet sauvignon in Napa Valley back in 1972. “They want to know what they’re going to get, [and] they want to be pleased,” Duncan said.  

Silver Oak Cellars started making their "cult cab" back in 1972. Courtesy: Silver Oak

So why exactly are Americans starting to shun alcohol? It’s part of what Brandy Rand, COO of the Americas at IWSR Drinks Market Analysis, noted in the report is “likely a result of the continued trend toward health and wellness.”

Yet it’s also clear that people are being more selective in what they drink. The total drop is mostly due to weakening beer consumption, with Americans reaching for distilled spirits and vino instead. The IWSR study also found wine notched a 24th consecutive year of domestic volume growth.

For his part, Silver Oak’s Duncan believes his brand is unlikely to suffer much.

“For our brand it’s a family tradition. The children of the boomers are drinking Silver Oak because their parents had it on the table,” Duncan said. 

McKenzie Stratigopoulos is a producer at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @mckenziestrat

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