Can the cat wine demographic save the wine business?

The cat wine demographic is untapped and oh so 21st century, with memes, Instagram and even influencers

Dear wine business:

The Wine Curmudgeon has long been worried about the downturn in U.S. wine sales, what with the Baby Boomers cutting back as they age and the apparent lack of interest among younger consumers.

But I think I’ve found a solution: Cats.

This is an untapped market, save for a few novelty products, and it’s huge – almost 40 million U.S. households have cats. Better yet, cats are hip, with it, and oh so 21st century. How about cat memes? Or the cat channel on Instagram with 10.3 million followers (30 times the number of Wine Spectator followers)?

And there are even cat influencers – Grumpy Cat, called “the Internet’s most famous cat,” received worldwide publicity when he died last month. That included an obituary in the New York Times, and we know how snooty the Times can be.

Plus, the three-tier system is a natural for selling wine to cats. The pet drug supply chain isn’t all that different from three-tier, so vets would understand how to work with all of its legal complications. Why not a wine section next to the fancy collars and upscale treats at the local animal hospital?

And premiumization is spot on for cats. The “pets as part of the family” trend started a decade ago, and it’s still going strong. They get birthday and Christmas presents, they stay at pricey resorts, and they eat like never before. How about cat food made with organic braised chicken or wild-caught salmon? Both are a far cry from the tuna can junk cats used to eat. Given all this, how much trouble could it be to sell a cat a $50 bottle of Napa chardonnay to pair with the salmon? Or even a $75 bottle?

Now I can hear your objections. Cats don’t drink wine. Which is where you’re wrong, and why you should be glad that the Wine Curmudgeon is looking out for your interests.

As the video at the top of the post demonstrates, cats do drink wine. They just need a little encouragement to get them to drink more and to trade up from the box wine in the video. So let the marketing department loose — Cat Nips, a 4-pack of 375 ml cans to take advantage of the canned wine craze. Or, best yet,  an Instagram video featuring a cat influencer like Grumpy Cat sipping a cult Napa cab while lounging on a porch overlooking the winery’s vineyards. Can’t miss, can it?

Remember, if you ever need any more big ideas, I’m always here to help.

Your pal,

The Wine Curmudgeon

Video courtesy of Herman, via YouTube

 

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