Millennials Love (Waiting in Line at) Beer Festivals

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IBM once rather hilariously summed up society’s perception of millennials thusly: “If the buzz is to be believed, they’re either lazy narcissists or energized optimists bent on saving the world.” Well, if a recent survey conducted by online ticketing service Eventbrite is to be believed, they’re also hedonists at the altar of the beer festival.

Prompted by a 47 percent year-over-year increase of food and beverage events ticketed on its website, Eventbrite recently surveyed more than 5,000 millennial attendees to glean more about the growing popularity of beer festivals amongst 21-33 year-olds.

With nearly half of all respondents citing beer festivals as their preferred event choice over food- and wine-focused affairs, the findings provide valuable insight for brewers looking to expand into the events space.

“If you’re in the food and beverage industry, these events are an effective way to attract a new generation of highly-influential consumers to your brand,” said Christine Bohle, head of consumer partnerships for Eventbrite.

Millennials, the report claims, want to be exposed to new beers and breweries while attending a beer fest, though they’re not there just to find new products; they also want stories. When a brand resonates, attendees become evangelists. Ninety-nine percent of respondents said they would go on to recommend a beer they liked to friends and family; 91 percent said they would visit a brewery they enjoyed afterward; 82 percent said would buy the product at a local retailer when available; and 73 percent said they begin following the brewery on social networks.

There may also be value in putting a brewer at the booth rather than, or at least alongside, volunteers, as 55 percent of those surveyed said one of the things they care about when attending is meeting the people behind the product and brand.


“Millennials are approaching beer through an authentic lens,” the report claims.

As for what types of beer festivals consumers prefer, 94 percent said they like big festivals “that bring several breweries together” (such as the Great American Beer Festival and American Craft Beer Festival); 58 percent preferred seasonal festivals (like Oktoberfest); and 50 percent preferred “niche festivals” (like Extreme Beer Fest).

The prospect of value weighs heavily in their decision to attend a festival as well. Among those surveyed, 54 percent said they’d be willing to spend between $36 and $50 to attend a beer festival, while only 21 percent said they’d be willing to spend more than that.

Though millennials possess a tastemaker-like quality, and therefore hold a highly coveted dollar, festival vendors should also look to appeal to other demographics. According to the report, 43 percent of Gen X’ers and 31 percent of Baby Boomers said they preferred beer festivals to those catering to food and wine as well.