What does this mean for the beverage
world? This much is certain: there is no
one-size-fits-all solution to the multi-culti
puzzle. Not only are distinct cultures feed-
ing America’s 21
st
century melting pot, age
demographics are also at play. While some
immigrants may aim to recreate life in the
mother country, their first-generation-
American offspring may aim to adapt their
ethnic tastes to American consumption
patterns. Appealing directly to distinct sub-
populations requires insight as to cultur-
ally influenced habits—what media is most
consumed, what sports resonate, how a
specific demographic treats religion or so-
cializing or credit cards.
For as long as Americans have popped
corks, nationality has been central to
any discussion of wine. More recently,
marketers adore talking about attracting
women via “skinny” liquors and female-
minded labels. But ask themhow they reach
out to African-Americans or Hispanics,
and the conversation can become one of
delicate navigation. It’s a sticky wicket, and
with good reason. Isolating a demographic
group can lurk precipitously close to
stereotyping. And if target marketing is
seen as suspect, it can backfire.
But sheer numbers dictate that
beverage alcohol professionals in each tier
should pay closer attention to ethnicity.
Moreover, marketing can be conducted
inclusively; after all, if the point is to get
the right products to the right customers,
targeting is good for both sellers and buyers.
Homeland vs.
Homegrown
Part of the trick to tapping into ethnicity is
balancing the appeal of a country of origin
vis à vis a group’s experience and attitudes
in America. “When it comes to marketing
product,” says Erick Castro, a first-genera-
tion Mexican-American and owner of San
Diego’s newest craft cocktail hotspot Polite
Provisions. “I don’t think a lot of people
realize how much more open-minded a lot
A
merica’s face is changing. By 2042, it is estimated that people of
color will outnumber whites in the U.S. In parts of the Southwest,
Latinos already make up a significant majority of the population,
particularly among younger age groups. Asian-Americans make
up the largest racial population at seven of the nine University of California
campuses, and a higher percentage of Asian-Americans than European-
Americans have incomes over $100,000. And from Jay-Z to Barack Obama
to Ursula Burns (CEO of Xerox Corp) and Oprah, African-Americans hold
ever-increasing political and economic sway.
Left: Nicolas Feuillatte was a sponsor at the 2013 LuckyRice Festival in NYC.
Above: Billboard underneath the 52
nd
Street subway platform in Queens, NY.
Wine, Beer and Spirits Marketers Embrace a Brave New Multi-Culti World
by robert haynes-peterson
THE
raising
barrio
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