Last Friday several of winebusiness.com’s top stories focused on recent reports that 7-Eleven would begin selling wine. This comes right on the heels of Starbucks positioning itself in July to diversify with a wine by the glass sales program and just today AdAge published a story declaring that Millennials are the Great White Hope for the Wine Industry. I’ve got news for you, if I’m part of the generation that all you wineries are building your hopes and dreams around. Don’t. And if you think we’ll buy wine at 7-Eleven. We’d rather die.
I grew up in what is known among the inner circle of Napa kids as the Slurpee Triangle. Three 7-Elevens positioned within a 1/2 mile radius of my mom’s house; the first on the corner of Silverado Trail and Lincoln Avenue, the second on Lincoln Avenue and Main Street and the third on Jefferson Street and Central Avenue – down the road from Napa High School. Peach was the hot flavor one summer and I drank a Slurpee a day on my way to lifeguarding at Mt. George Estates swimming pool, every day, all summer long.
Those 7-Elevens are now littered with trash, the sites of regular Napa baseball hat wearing police action, the home of Redbox DVD rental kiosks placed outside the store, not inside, because that’s where all the thugs hang out.
The demographic of frequent 7-Eleven customers is hardly the 20 and 30 something crowd en route to a low-key dinner party or the casual couple running out to grab a bottle of wine to share with one another that they recently read about on Twitter or Facebook.
Unless 7-Eleven’s corporate office is going to begin making over their brick and mortar stores and target a new demographic Just In Time (JIT) to start blowing wine off the shelves before us Millennials turn the old age of 40, I’d recommend sticking to the Sparks Drinking Frat Boys and recognize that’s about as close as you’re going to get a Millennial to buy up alcohol off the shelves and out of the cold cases in College Town USA.
I’d like to know if 7-Eleven’s Vice President of Merchandising and Logistics is aware that Millennials are often referred to as the Demand Generation? We aren’t patient. We want instant and blissful gratification. And we want it to be a luxurious high-end experience that we can afford on our less than ideal wages not necessarily in line with the level of education we’ve all achieved. I invite the CMLO of 7-Eleven to respond to me in 140 characters @ThomsonVyrds.
Finally related to AdAge’s declaration of Millennials being the Great White Hope of the Wine Industry, I’d challenge that wineries who convince their WINEMAKER to talk to Millennials rather than hiring 27-year-old young guns like Adam Beaugh, who the article notes, “formerly did web work for Texas Gov. Rick Perry” may stand a chance.
I’m sure Mr. Beaugh is well versed in the way of Facebook and all things Texas, but if you didn’t get the memo this morning – Facebook is about to face yet another mass exodus with its recent updates to profiles, enabling advertisers to serve up more ads, your employer to review more tagged photos of you getting drunk off 7-Eleven wine, and allow wineries to coordinate more annoying API based Twitter feeds and Facebook wall posts – you’d best hop on Twitter and Facebook and start reading what Millennials are saying.
I’ll be very interested to see just who Mellinier Leah Hennessy confirms for her 2010 Unified Wine & Grape Symposium Panel titled, “What Matters to Millenials.” And no that’s NOT my typo in the Tuesday program. That’s the largest wine and grape conference in the nation, put on by two of the largest wine and grape associations in the nation who can’t even spell the generation they’re desperately trying to target. Sorry to shatter all your hopes and dreams.
Send your comments my way. I’m in San Francisco this week at Dreamforce on the Digital Media Team – taking a hiatus from the vineyard. Wearing heels, not my Farmer boots.