Millennials and the Mead Experience

The psychographics approach to selecting the ideal customer for NW Mead includes targeting an audience that is environmentally conscious and concerned about eating more natural foods.

Mead is classified as a wine and is made by fermenting honey and other ingredients.

Considered at one time to be the “nectar of the Gods,” and what’s thought to be the oldest drink known to man, we’ve  determined who we think will be our ideal customer.  Drinking mead was an ancient custom that goes back to Greece, Asia and the Vikings.

Studies show many millennials like to embrace experiences and share them on social media. There seems to be a new fascination for Viking, Renaissance and Medieval folklore; most likely due to video-games and popular television series that sensationalize these times. It’s not only customer’s who enjoy these types of experiences we seek to target, but also their reasons behind embracing this new but ancient beverage. However, it’s important to note that the ideal customer would be a millennial that has already begun earning a salary with disposable income.

There are a high percentage of millennials that will be tourists versus residents who we expect to be our ideal customer, so the CNBC stats on earnings per state will help in determining this range. Focusing on the states where there are higher percentages of tourists flocking to Asheville will help to fine tune thus demographic. Additionally, we can’t ignore the GenX and baby boomers who may be looking for an experience but may not prefer the same varieties of mead. 

In looking at the behaviorgraphics of the ideal NW Mead customer, we can see there will be an interest from people who like to buy locally and purchase healthier versions of alcohol in addition to the tourism market. Of course, alcohol should be consumed in moderation, but a beverage that is all natural will be healthier than one that contains chemicals, trace pesticides or even certain ingredients that can cause allergic reactions in some people like gluten and sulfates.

After attending a Leadership Asheville Buzz breakfast, and hearing the General Manager from New Belgium Brewery speak about how beer is on the decline, I did some research related to millennials over 21 and what they prefer to drink.

Interestingly, many millennials over 21 are looking for an alternative to what their parents drank, and are embracing different and unique alcoholic beverages including mead. They also tend to prefer wine over beer. Although beer is on somewhat of a decline, as is wine, new studies show there are a variety of factors related to people’s preference, and people can change suddenly and adopt a new preferred drink including today’s younger generations being more open to wine.”

Environmentalists are concerned about Colony Collapse Disorder and how this can negatively impact all agricultural crops in the world. There are a few things a customer can do to help prevent Colony Collapse Disorder says the Natural Resources Defense Council including reducing pesticide application, purchasing plants that are untreated and eating organic foods. All these are behaviors are required in order to produce and sell a natural honey wine product like mead to people who are focused on sustainability.

NW Mead plans to purchase all natural ingredients including raw honey. The production of mead will be supporting bee apiaries, because bee farmers will be increasing the number of bee friendly plants and hives in order to increase a local honey supply. This ties back into the psychographic and behaviorgraphics of the target audience because millennials want the companies they buy from to practice business sustainably and ethically.

NW Mead is targeting Asheville as the geographic location for the Mead Hall. As of July 1 2017, the U.S Census Bureau reported the population to be 91,902 with 47% of those over 25 having a bachelor’s degree or higher. In addition to the resident population, there are an average of 29, 800 people who visit Buncombe County daily; spending 5.2 million daily. 

The Buncombe County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau also reports that 24% of the 1.9 Billion spent on local business was for food and beverage. In fact, as far as crafting goes, the city is known as “Beer City USA” and it’s hard to argue the point. It has more breweries per capita than any American city — 23 at last count — drawing hopsheads from all over.  

A brewery would be considered a cluster business that could potentially draw in people on a brewery tour to experience mead as an alternative. Mead is growing in popularity. The American Mead maker’s Association says that it’s the fastest growing alcohol in the nation as is also confirmed in this article by The Motley Fool.

A 2018 article published in Mountain Express identifies the Explore Asheville marketing campaign as focusing on secondary targets including “power families,” “experiential millennials,” “bargain-seeking retirees,” engaged couples and meeting planners.

Experiential millennials would be the most ideal out of this secondary segment of tourists for NW Mead. Millennial behavior has shown that they are in dire need of authenticity, but are also seeking engagement and an intense customer experience.

A combination of the geographic, demographic, psychographic and behaviorgraphic traits has helped NW Mead to classify it’s ideal customer. This target group has shown in their purchasing behaviors that they will be more open and receptive to trying and adopting mead as a beverage, and a segment of this generation should also embrace the unique step-back-in-time experience.

One Reply to “Millennials and the Mead Experience”

  1. Jill, this post was excellent and thorough! I’ve never tried mead before, but your presentation has my curious about the taste. Just yesterday I tried a Hypnotic Beast Blonde Shandy, which is a wheat beer crafted with spices and tea. I liked it, so I could see how mead may be a good fit for me. I appreciate your post addressing the potential impact on the ecosystem, and the bee population. I don’t think people realize how important the bee population is. Have you considered in attending the Beer and Bacon Festival in Cary? Beer and Bourbon is a popular event in Raleigh as well. As your distribution grows, it may be a great opportunity to do some research with not much on the line. Great job!

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