11 things pubs can do to attract a new generation of drinkers

By Georgina Townshend

- Last updated on GMT

Tech it out now: the Millennial generation has plenty of options but you must try to attract them to your pub
Tech it out now: the Millennial generation has plenty of options but you must try to attract them to your pub

Related tags Alcoholic beverage

A recent survey by marketing and insight company, Multiply, revealed 11 key areas where pubs, bars and alcohol brands can do more to engage a new generation of drinkers.

An increasing number of Millennials are going alcohol-free, or opting for drinking in the comfort of their own home. A concerning prospect, especially with around 21 pubs and bars closing down every week.

According to the figures, released in Multiply's whitepaper titled The Millennial Hangover,​ Millennials – particularly younger ones – don’t have as close of a relationship to alcohol as previous generations, with 78% of 18 to 26-year-olds classifying themselves as low to medium drinkers, while 55% of the same audience claiming that alcohol doesn’t play an important part in their social lives.

The research also uncovered that Millennials, first and foremost, care about quality experiences. And they want it at an affordable cost – 60% of the audience said price was a major aspect and 55% cited quality was crucial too when buying alcohol in the on-trade. 

Multiply founding partner Mark Fowlestone said: “We’ve been drinks specialists long enough to outdate most single malts. As such, we know the importance of keeping up with new behaviours. So we used our insight tools to look into Millennials’ minds. And it sends out a clear message – to reconnect with consumers it has to be all about constantly adapting to their ever-evolving lifestyles.”

So, what can businesses do – in addition to great food and a wide variety of drinks – to bring these younger drinkers back? 

Below are 11 key areas Multiply says can help attract this elusive generation.


Drinks aren’t part of the experience any longer. They make up the experience now. From speciality spirits to exotic garnishes, from exquisite combinations to classy glassware, there’s many ways to put on a spotlight-worthy show with every single drink. Naturally, Millennials expect the atmosphere around the drink to reflect and elevate the experience with style, flair and finesse. After all, it is at least three times more expensive to drink in bar than to drink at home. 


Millennials live life without an 'off' switch. Advances in technology and an around-the-clock work culture has made downtime a thing of the past. As a result, boredom has become the ultimate enemy. So Millennials keep themselves entertained, whether it takes the form of clubbing, gaming, streaming, gigs or TV boxsets or just watching YouTube videos. There’s a chance for bars to tap into this restless energy and give Millennials the hit of fun they desire.


Food is the main event for Millennials, and what they plan their occasion around. Is it the delicious development of food pics on Instagram? One-click access to cuisines around the world? A tech-inspired, experimental approach to food? It’s probably a mix of all of those, plus more, but one thing is very clear – bars and pubs need to put the spotlight on great food offerings and pairings.


More and more Millennials are choosing to drink less alcohol, or cut it out of their lives altogether. They are very much a 'more is more' crowd when it comes to options. Put those two together and it’s easy to see how important it is for the on-trade to start offering a lot more non-alcoholic variety. However, it’s equally important for them to keep refreshing their alcoholic offering to keep people interested.


Healthy living is important to most Millennials, particularly those in their late 20s and early 30s who are becoming more age-conscious. This has led to a boom in gym visits, green smoothies, food blogs and much, much more. Yet it’s clear from the fun, colourful recipes online that they don’t want to give up on enjoyment either – they just want to be able to feel good about themselves afterwards.


For Millennials, how the experience is viewed by others is as important as the experience itself. Hence the constant sharing of activities – stylised and made to look perfect, of course – on social media. This ‘Instagram culture’, where hearts, comments and shares become status symbols, put outlets who know how to play the game in a great position to become part of their lives.


Millennials don’t always drink, but when they do, they tend to drink quality alcoholic beverages. Both young and old Millennials though put an emphasis on getting their money’s worth. They might be earning less and trying to get by in an unstable job economy, but they don’t want to compromise on taste.


Having grown up in it, Millennials are very much at home in the online world. It’s where they choose to engage, not just with their friends but also brands, through social channels, blogs, events and competitions. In this new click-and-mortar reality, Pubs need to become part of the conversation, by also being easily accessible on social media. For example, it's not only Facebook and Twitter anymore. There's Instagram and Snapchat to name but two more in the mix now.


Spending time with friends and family is the most important thing in Millennials’ lives – they just don’t necessarily do it now in person. Four walls are not a requisite to meeting people these days, and as such, it is important that outlets everywhere, from the suburban local to the city centre bar, find ways to make this new social reality part of their business. (For example, free Wi-Fi).


Thanks to all the information and opportunity in the world being right at their fingertips, Millennials have been able to explore a myriad of interests, lifestyles and hobbies. That’s great for them but not ideal for those trying to put them into categories. However, their multifaceted nature also means there’s many more ways to engage this complex audience.


Sometimes, Millennials just need to get away from the information overload. In times like this, a place to relax, think or socialise is just what they need. Having friends over, visiting a café or blowing off steam at the gym are great for this. Pubs could create a similarly inviting atmosphere to attract them.

Multiply’s ‘Mind’s Eye’ digital survey was completed by specially targeted Millennials, drawn from a pool of more than 500,000 UK consumers.

Related topics Marketing

Related news

Show more