Dark Spirits Drinkers: Psychographic Profile
Although as of 2017 the majority of dark spirit consumers in the US were white and aged over 55, the dark spirits market growth in the US is driven by younger, multicultural consumers aged between 21 and 34 years old who seem to take up a disproportionately large market share compared to the population. This diverse, Millennial crowd are religious and stylish, seek out quality and want to understand how the whiskey they love is made.
- Dark spirit consumers are religious, funny people who love their drink. According to the alcohol category and keyword analysis of Twitter conducted by People Pattern in 2016, both whiskey and rum drinkers’ main interests are humor, religion, and beverages.
- Dark spirit consumers are stylish. Jimmy North, of Blackened-“a whiskey founded by Metallica and the late great master distiller Dave Pickerell”-claims that “new whiskey drinkers are a lot like the old ones, except they often dress better”.
- Dark spirit consumers get to know their favorite brands. Younger whiskey drinkers are interested in understanding the brands they love through getting to know the story behind the whiskey, the process by which its made and who it’s made by. To this end they will take tours of distilleries and go to whiskey festivals and tastings.
- Dark spirit consumers are active on Instagram, and to a lesser extent, Google+ and Tumblr. According to analysis of Twitter conducted by People Pattern in 2016, both whiskey and rum drinkers use Instagram. Whiskey drinkers also use Tumblr, whereas rum drinkers use Google+.
- Dark spirit consumers seek quality over quantity. There is more interest in high-end whiskey, with High End Premium and Super Premium brands experiencing most growth. Rum is also growing at the premium end, with Ricardo March of Varela Imports, distributor of Ron Abuelo rum stating that their consumers “are drinking less but much better quality.”
- Dark spirit consumers are hip. Based on the WhiskyX event, which featured live music from St. Paul & The Broken Bones who have played trendy festivals SXSW and Coachella, along with “food trucks, beard- and hair-trimming stations, a cigar lounge”.
- Dark spirit consumers are multicultural. When choosing alcoholic beverages, African-Americans are the demographic group most likely to select “spirits like whiskey or Cognac over beer or wine”.
- Dark spirit consumers voice their opinions online. According to alcohol category and keyword analysis of Twitter conducted by People Pattern in 2016, whiskey drinkers had the "highest average post per profile rate of the spirit audiences analyzed".
- Dark spirit consumers may be concentrated in New York and Los Angeles. The People Pattern analysis found that whiskey and rum consumers posting on Twitter were located most frequently in these two cities. This could suggest that dark spirit consumers are primarily in urban centers, however this may also be a reflection of the concentration of Twitter users, as this was how the data was collected.
- Dark spirit consumers make their purchases later in the day. Based on data collected on Jameson Irish Whiskey and Canada Dry, over 60% of whiskey purchases take place in either the afternoon or evening, with only 6% of purchases occurring late at night.
- Dark spirit consumers enjoy their whiskey at bars, in mixed drinks. According to Eddie Russell, of Wild Turkey bourbon, whereas previously the vast majority of bourbon sales were in a retail store, to be consumed in the home, now consumers tend to be drinking it in cocktails out at bars.
Our research team used market research reports along with alcohol industry reports and media articles in order to determine the typical dark spirit consumer and their psychographic attributes. We were able to locate recent media articles on the topic, however research on consumer demographics was limited therefore we have included People Pattern research from 2015 on the assumption that there is likely to have been minimal change in consumer psychographics in the past 4 years.
Our search did not reveal any data relating specifically to rural states, as information found was country-wide with no further granularity. Although we located dark spirits data for the US as a whole, and spirit sales data by state, released by the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, there was no sales data for dark spirits specifically by state which might give insight into the consumption of dark spirits in more rural states.