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Millennials

and the New Era of Food,


Wine & Beer Festivals

Introduction
We are in the midst of a new era in the food and beverage industryand we have millennials to thank for it.
At 80 million strong, millennials now account for over one fourth of the total U.S. population and will out number
the boomer generation by the end of 2015. They are drinking more alcohol than previous generations and are highly
engaged with food and culinary culture. In fact, 50 percent of millennials now refer to themselves as foodies.1
But theyre not dining alone. With nearly $1.3 trillion in direct spending power, millennials are increasingly
spending their time and money on event-based experiences. In fact, more than three in four millennials (78 percent)
would choose to spend money on a desirable experience or event over buying a desirable item, and 55 percent of
millennials say theyre spending more on events than ever beforea trend that shows no sign of slowing.2
Within the food and beverage industry, this translates into food, wine, and beer events. Millennials, more than
any other generation, actively seek unique, new ways to come together to learn, taste, try, and embrace the latest
developments in craft beers, wines, spirits, and local, artisanal foods3, and this presents a growing opportunity
for businesses.
Food and beverage events not only represent immense growth on Eventbrite, which saw a 47% year-over-year
increase from 2013-2014, but it is a market where a fundamental shift is taking place, with new types of events
being created that specifically cater to millennial interests. We know that, in general, millennials are attending
festivals more than any other generation. Because of millennials high attention to brands, product story,
discovery, and authenticity, live events offer food and drink companies the opportunity to take advantage of this
added market segment and win the hearts and minds of these valuable consumers in the process.
Recognizing the incredible growth of and high demand for food and beverage events, Eventbrite sought to
dive deeper into the mind of the modern festival-goer in order to better understand who they are and how the
millennial audience in particular might differ from older generations. We uncovered valuable information about
how social media affects food and beverage brand discovery and loyalty; how food, wine, and beer events
particularly festivalsinfluence purchasing behavior; and what qualities millennials look for in the events they
attend year after year.
The following report is a compilation of the findings from an Eventbrite global survey completed by more than
5,000 attendees of at least one festival with a focus on food, beer, or wine that was ticketed on Eventbrite during
2014. The results reveal new and interesting insights about millennials (defined as young adults between the
ages of 18 and 33), the food and beverage industry, and how event organizers can use these insights to take their
festivals and events to the next level.

Source: Distribution Property Solutions, Inc.: Millennials Drive Wine Consumption and Futurecast: Millennial Marketing

Source: Eventbrite: Millennials: Fueling the Experience Economy, November 2014

Source: Mintel: The Rise of Craft Beer in the US, January 2013 and Highbrow Magazine: How Millennials Reshaped the Wine Industry, October 2014

Food and drink is the key


to millennial social life
Nothing brings millennials together better than the chance to bond over a glass of beer or wine, or share delicious
food, as evidenced by the 80 percent of millennials surveyed who said they attended three or more food, wine, or
beer events in the past 12 months, and the nearly half who attended five or more. These events varied from tastings
and seasonal parties to special events and pop-ups, to a range of different food, wine and beer festivals of all shapes
and sizes.
Millennials high attendance at these events indicates their yearning for live experiences. Instead of sitting down
to a one-course meal at a restaurant with expensive drinks, they are acting as food and craft beverage connoisseurs,
seeking tasting experiences with a variety of items served. And events give the foodie audience the perfect
opportunity to see behind the scenes of the products they eat and drink: eight in ten millennials say they want to
know more about how their food is produced than brands typically disclose.
Food and beverage events give millennials the perfect opportunity to combine their love of live experiences with
their passion for unique, quality food and drink.

Food and beverage events attended per year

80%
44%

3 or more events

5 or more events

Source: Highbrow Magazine: How Millennials Reshaped the Wine Industry, October 2014 and Futurecast: Millennial Marketing

Source: Millennial Marketing: Millennials are the Tastemakers of Food.

Millennials love festivals,


and they want more of them
Who doesnt want more of a good thing? Of those surveyed were millennials who attended at least one food,
wine, or beer festival in the past 12 months. These festival attendees love to go back to events again and again,
and they bring friends with them each time. In fact, 97 percent plan to attend the same numberor moreof food
and beverage festivals in the coming year, and 40 percent want to attend even more than they did in the past.
Young festival-goers arent just attending these events for lack of something else to dotheyre genuinely
enthusiastic about them. A huge majority of respondents (89%) say that attending these food, wine, and beer
festivals is something they look forward to and get excited about, and an impressive two-thirds report that attending
these types of events is one of their favorite things to do. So, why all the excitement?
Millennials prioritize food and beverage festivals because they offer a chance to connect with friends. Additionally,
59 percent of respondents say that food, wine, and beer festivals give them another way to experience life that
theyre looking for, and this experience almost always involves their peers. Whats more, nearly half of millennials say
that going to a festival is about being part of the social scene, and nearly two-thirds feel theyve missed out if they
see photos of friends at a festival nearby that they didnt attend.
The bonding experience doesnt end with the festival, either: about two-thirds of respondents say they love to talk
about the event with family and friends afterward.

Millennials say food and beverage festivals...

89%
67%
64%
59%
45%

Are something they look forward to and


get excited about
Are one of their favorite things to do

87%
Plan to attend the same

number of, or more, festivals


in the coming year
Are something they love to talk about with
friends and family afterward

Give them another way to experience life


that they are looking for

Are about being part of the social scene

61%

Feel they have missed out


when they see pictures of
friends at a festival nearby

Social media is how millennials


make plans
Were living in an age when people rely heavily on social media to stay informed about the latest updates, from gossip
to the big event everyones going to next weekend. Unsurprisingly, our study reinforced this trend, as millennials in
aggregate reported social media as the number one way they find out about food and beverage festivals of all kinds.
Many also say that they rely heavily on word-of-mouth buzz (the second most popular answer in aggregate), which
takes place both online, on social media, and through direct interaction with others.
Of course, the use of technology and social networks doesnt stop once millennials are at the festival itselfthey
simply change the content theyre sharing. It becomes much more image-based.
Our study found that food festivals in particular are seen as Instagram-worthy, with 85 percent of respondents likely
to post pictures online of their favorite moments, and 84 percent likely to post pictures of the food itself.
These mouth-watering pictures dont just show others how great the food was, they also remind attendees of how
much they want to relive the experience. Sixty-five percent of millennials reported being likely to follow a winery they
encountered and liked at a wine festival, 75 percent say they are likely to follow a brewery from a beer festival they
attended, and 79 percent are likely to follow a food purveyor or restaurant on a social network after encountering
them at a food festival.

Millennials also turn to social media during


and after the event
During

80% 84%
are likely to post pictures
online of their favorite moments

of food festival-goers are likely to


post pictures of the food itself

After

79% 75% 65%


follow a food purveyor or restaurant
on social media

follow a brewery on social media

follow a winery on social media

Top five ways millennials learn about the events they attend

Food festivals
83%

word of mouth

79%

social media

54%

daily deal site

51%

ticketing website

50%

restaurant or local food purveyor website

78%

social media

68%

word of mouth

53%

daily deal site

48%

ticketing website

41%

event listing sites

78%

social media

78%

word of mouth

42%

brewery or guild website

41%

ticketing website

37%

daily deal site

Wine festivals

Beer festivals

Festivals increase millennial


brand loyalty and purchasing
Food and beverage festivals arent just a one-time source of revenue: attendees are also more likely to buy a product
and spread brand awareness after attending. In fact, festivals are extremely effective in converting attendees into
brand evangelists.
Millennials love to talk about the products they find at these festivals. Ninety-nine percent of millennials say they are
likely to recommend a product they tried and liked at a wine, beer, or food festival to friends and family. Millennials
are also more inclined to visit one or more of the wineries, breweries, or food purveyors they encountered at the
festival after the event, often bringing friends and family with them.
Whats more, the likelihood of their buying the products they loved either during or after the event is strong. Over
half of respondents say they are likely to stock up on food, wine, or a beer they loved at the festival if its sold on-site.
But the impact on purchasing behavior lasts well beyond the festival itself.
Sixty percent of millennials say they will buy a food or wine they loved at a local retailer or restaurant after the
festival, and 82 percent of millennials say they will frequently or always buy a beer they loved at a local retailer. Even
more compelling is the likelihood that they will go out of their way to visit the source of the product: 95 percent are
likely to visit a restaurant, food shop, or farm they discovered at a festival; 91 percent are likely to visit a brewery they
liked; and 86 percent will visit one of their preferred wineries from the event.
If they dont find the product locally, attendees are willing to do their research: more than 85 percent are likely to
search for the winery, brewery, or food purveyor online for additional information, and about 40 percent are likely
to sign up for a newsletter offered by a vendor they liked.

After attending a food and beverage festival,


millennials say they are likely to
Engage with you afterward

90%

85%

40%

brewery, restaurant,

information about

vendors newsletter

or food purveyor

a vendor online

visit a winery,

search for more

sign up for a

they liked

Purchase what they liked

49%

47%

72%

if available

trip to the vendor

shop or restaurant

to purchase

to purchase

buy onsite,

99%

make a special

go to a local retail

Recommend a winery,
brewery, restaurant, or
food purveyor afterward

Beer festivals trump wine and


food festivals among millennials
Beer festivals in particular are in incredibly high demand among this more experiential generation, especially
as the craft beer trend continues to rise. Almost half of millennials (47 percent) rank beer festivals first among their
preferred event choicesthat is four percent more than Gen Xers and 16 percent more than boomers. While the
survey skewed female (respondents were 59 percent female and 41 percent male), this trend seems to hold across
the broader millennial population.
Millennials are approaching beer through an authentic lens. These young adults are drawn to craft beers because
of the perceived authenticity of the product. Millennials in general are more likely to appreciate locally sourced
products and ingredients and are less trusting of big corporations than any other generation. Small microbreweries
often align with these values, and millennials feel a greater connection to a brand that comes from their own city.
Among those who arent beer lovers, an equal number of millennials versus Gen Xers or boomers prefer food
festivals (21 percent). However, millennials are less keen than the older generations when it comes to wine festivals
(11 percent of millennials vs. 17 percent of Gen Xers and 22 percent of boomers).
However, its worth noting that one fifth of millennial festival attendees said they have no preference for the types
of food and beverage festivals they attend but are just looking for any food- or drink-related reason to get out of
the house.

Types of festivals preferred by generation

21%

21%
19%

21%
11%

Millennials
(18-33)

Gen Xers
(34-50)

17%

47%

Food festivals

21%

21%

Boomers
(51-70)

43%

Wine festivals

31%

Beer festivals

No Preference

25%

Millennials are drawn to certain


festivals for different reasons
Millennials are looking for more than just a general good time when they choose to attend a festival. Often, theyre
seeking something more specifica new or unique way to mix up their daily routine.
The biggest attractions of these festivals vary depending on whether they are food-, beer-, or wine-centric. But
common across all events is the desire to do something fun, learn something new, and take part in an adventurous
experience, all while being exposed to new brands and products.
Each type of festival also has its unique draws for attendees. For example, one-third of wine festival attendees reported going to the festival because they wanted to travel somewhere fun. Over half of beer festival attendees reported
a desire to meet the brewers or the people behind the beer. And food festival attendees are equally interested in
meeting the food producers (either restaurateurs or local chefs) and in travelling to a fun location.
When deciding which festivals are worth their while, millennials consider both featured entertainment and ticket
price as well as whether or not their friends are going. Sixty percent say they are more likely to go to a food, wine, or
beer festival if it includes live music as part of the experience. In addition, more than one-third of respondents are
more likely to go to a festival theyve been to before and enjoyed, with the highest loyalty (43 percent) found among
beer festivals.

Top reasons millennials attend


Food festival

Wine festival

Beer festival

Do something fun with friends or family

85%

83%

89%

Take part in an adventurous experience

82%

51%

48%

Learn something new from an expert

45%

41%

53%

Be exposed to new products and companies

95%

87%

96%

Meet the producers or people behind the


craft/company

42%

30%

55%

Travel somewhere fun

40%

32%

51%

30

Are more likely to go to a


food, wine, or beer festival if it
includes musical entertainment
as part of the experience

41

consider if they have been


there before and enjoyed it
as a critical factor in deciding
whether to go again

They like big festivals, but also


seek other formats and themes
More than 90 percent of millennials want to attend the big festivals, regardless of whether they feature food, wine,
or beer. They tend to prioritize the incorporation of music and entertainment into the event above other concerns.
Younger millennials, ages 1825, are often even more experiential than their older counterparts and are always
looking for something extra from their events. For wine festivals, two out of three young millennials prefer events
with multiple themes, such as an art-and-wine or film-and-wine festival. Sixty-three percent of young millennial beer
festival-goers also choose events based on seasonal themes like Oktoberfest or St. Patricks Day. And nearly half of
those who attend food festivals say they prefer events that feature a celebrity chef.
As millennials mature, their interests and choices evolve to also embrace more niche event environments. Fifty-three
percent of wine festival attendees ages 2633 are looking for a niche experience, versus 41 percent of respondents
ages 1825. Beer festivals experience a similar, though not as drastic, jump in preference for niche beer experiences,
from 45 to 51 percent.
Interestingly, with food festivals, the preference for niche events is different. millennials seek out events that offer
niche food interests, regardless of their age.
Millennials want to give their money to a company that stands for more than their bottom line, a trend confirmed
by our survey. Admirably, millennials across both age groups who attend food and beverage festivals generally prefer
events that benefit a charity or have a charitable component. To attract these socially conscious millennials, consider
partnering with a local charity for your next festival, or hosting a donation booth.

More than 90% of millennials


want to attend the big festivals,
regardless of whether they
feature food, wine, or beer

Millennial preferences for different festival formats


Beer Festivals

Young millennials
(1825)

Older millennials
(2633)

Big festivals that bring several breweries together

94%

94%

Festivals that are paired with food (i.e,. BBQ and Beer,
Bacon and Beer, Brat and Brew)

77%

74%

Festivals that benefit a charity or have a charitable


component

67%

56%

Festivals that feature live musical entertainment

63%

54%

Festivals with a seasonal theme (e.g., Oktoberfest, St


Patricks Day)

63%

56%

Niche festivals with a focus on a certain type of beer

45%

51%

Wine Festivals

Young millennials
(1825)

Older millennials
(2633)

Big festivals that bring several wineries together

88%

87%

Festivals that feature live musical entertainment

67%

62%

Festivals with multiple themes, such as


Art + Wine, Wine + Film, etc.

67%

60%

Festivals that benefit a charity or have a charitable


component

55%

61%

Niche festivals with a focus on a certain wine region


or varietal

43%

53%

Festivals hosted by a single winery

29%

37%

Food Festivals

Young millennials
(1825)

Older millennials
(2633)

Big festivals that bring together several food purveyors or


restaurants

90%

88%

Niche festivals that focus on a particular food, region, or


cuisine

78%

77%

Festivals that benefit a charity or have a charitable


component

62%

59%

Festivals that include live musical entertainment

58%

53%

Festivals that span a week or more and encompass


multiple events, programs, or classes

45%

35%

Festivals that incorporate some sort of competition or


cook-off

42%

38%

Festivals that feature a celebrity chef

41%

35%

Millennials are willing to


pay more for a great experience
Ticket price tops the list of millennials considerations when choosing to attend festivals, but that doesnt mean
theyre not willing to pay for a great experience. Contrary to the belief among organizers that people only attend
some festivals because theyre free, around half of millennials reported that they were willing to spend $36-50
per ticket to a food and beverage festival. In fact, only three percent of respondents reported choosing to attend
an event because it was free.
On the other hand, 40 percent of millennials agree that they are willing to pay more for an exclusive experience at
a festival, such as a VIP tent or a special pouring. Its important to get the pricing right to attract both a broad
audience and those seeking a more niche experience.

The sweet spot for ticket pricing


Willing to spend $36-50 per ticket

85%

83%

89%

Food festivals

Wine festivals

Beer festivals

Willing to spend even more per ticket

82%

Food festivals

51%

48%

Wine festivals

Beer festivals

40%

are willing to pay an additional fee


for an exclusive experience, such
as a VIP tent or a special pouring

Its not all about festivals


millennials attend other events too
Millennials are an event-hungry group, attending a range of live experiences from fundraisers and 5k races to networking events and dinners. Respondents have participated in a wide variety of food and beverage industry events
beyond festivals: tastings were popular with nearly two-thirds of attendees, and half of respondents reported that
they like to attend seasonal parties such as St. Patricks Day or Fall Harvest celebrations. Pop-ups are an especially
popular and rising trend, particularly in food tourism, as brands tour with new product releases.
Festival attendees are also big fans of special brand-organized events. More than a quarter of respondents enjoy new
product release events, such as those thrown by wine business owners; more than a third attend special events like
pop-ups; and almost half are into destination tours to regions with a high concentration of wineries, breweries, or
food purveyors.
Why such a variety? Millennials like and want a range of experiences, and theyre more than willing to use their
discretionary income to fill their evenings and weekends with a host of cool things to do that involve food, wine,
and beer. Sampling trends among millennials indicate that they are more willing than any other generation to try
new things. According to research conducted by FutureCast, a marketing consultancy that specializes in millennial
trends, 69 percent of millennials consider themselves adventurous. For a millennial, adventure can mean anything
from trying a new food to meeting new people at an eventanything goes.

Conclusion
Millennials love live experiences, and attendees of food, beer, and wine festivals are influenced by these events
for months to come. Not only are millennials overwhelmingly more likely to purchase a product they have tried
at one of these festivals, but they also spread their brand loyalty to their family and friends, with an incredible
99 percent of those surveyed more likely to recommend a product they had tried.
These events are a key resource in your marketing toolkit. Social media is the best way to reach this audience,
with more than three out of four millennials finding out about festivals on social media. A strategic ticketing
partner is also a must, with almost half of millennials saying they find out about festivals through ticketing
websites like Eventbrite. A variety of events is the best way to reach the largest audiencecontrary to popular
belief, our survey showed that its not all about the big festivals anymore, and millennials are willing to pay more
for niche experiences.
Millennials are actively seeking live experiences in which they can explore their passion for food, beer, and wineall
while surrounded by friends. If youre in the food and beverage industry, these events are an effective way to attract
a new generation of consumers to your brand. By giving millennials something to talk about with their friends, both
on and offline, you can create brand enthusiasts who will come back event after event, and seek out your products
at all times in between.

About Eventbrite
Eventbrite enables people all over the world to plan, promote, and sell out events of all kinds. Since 2006,
the platform has processed over 200 million tickets and registrations worldwide, totaling more than $3 billion
in gross ticket sales. In 2014 alone, the company processed $1.5 billion in gross ticket sales for attendees in
187 countries. The online event ticketing service makes it easy for everyone to discover events and to share the
events they are attending with the people they know. In this way, Eventbrite brings communities together by
encouraging people to connect through live experiences.
Learn more at www.eventbrite.com.

Eventbrite, 2015. All Rights Reserved.