Millennial Think Tank: Leisure Time, Music and Alcohol

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As we wind down the year on our Millennial Think Tank, we thought it would be good to lighten things up on MTT; this week we focused on Millennial leisure time, with an eye toward music and alcohol choices.

This week our panel consisted of:

  • Kiernan McGinnis, a young Millennial, 3rd year student at Lehigh University, English Lit. Major
  • Samantha Estoesta, a young Millennial working in Public Interest Research
  • Kelly Mosgofian, a young Millennial working in Sports
  • Albert Qian, a young Millennial working in Silicon Valley
  • Helen Androlia, an older Millennial working in Social Media
  • Joe Cardillo,  an older Millennial, Content and Analytics specialist
  • Armand Domalewski, a middle Millennial with a background in Economics working in public speaking.

Watch or listen to the entire broadcast below, or read on for the recap:

Their drinks of choice for the panel discussion:

Albert: Hard Cider – Angry Orchard

Armand: Beer –  Amber Steam

Helen: Whiskey – Crown Royal

Joe: Cocktail – Black Tea/Hard Liquor/Apple Juice

Samantha: Coffee

Kiernan: Bourbon – Bottom Shelf

Kelly: Bourbon – Rip Van Winkle

Do you go out to see live music regularly?

Joe, who is passionate about music, listens to a lot of older blues, and a lot of gritty garage music, both at home and when he’s out.

Albert doesn’t go to concerts because of the cost, and will watch a band when he’s out, but only if it’s an ‘add on benefit.’ He won’t go out looking for specific bands.

Helen is in a band, and goes to see music 3 times a week on average. She bemoaned the fact that in Toronto people do not want to pay more than $5 to see a band at a club. Joe weighed in that in Albuquerque people also don’t want to pay much to see local talent, yet in Boulder and San Francisco the will pay more.

Samantha and Kiernan also see live music regularly. Samantha prefers festivals where she can see many bands over the course of a few days for $150. She also pays $10 to see local bands. Kiernan also enjoys festivals, and mentioned Music Fest in Bethlehem. His university hosts big name musicians, and he has seen Bob Dylan and others right on campus.

Kelly pays to see concerts, but feels that the live music scene is where musicians who want to make a name for themselves play for free or beer money; it’s part of the system. He won’t usually pay more than $5 for an unknown band.

Interestingly, this non-cash carrying generation makes a point of carrying cash when they’re going to see a bar band, since most of those venues don’t take cards.

How do you feel about bootlegging music, Spotify, and other online music sites?

Joe doesn’t believe in owning music that you don’t listen to a lot, so he’ll buy an album only if it’s one of his favorite bands. He will purchase individual songs, and keeps a changing play list. When I asked specifically about bootlegging music, Joe will only do that if an artist isn’t providing easy access to purchase their music, which is rare these days.

Albert doesn’t buy music at all; he uses music apps and listens to what’s on. He noted that he doesn’t want to take up space on his iPhone for music. In his car he listens to the radio.

When I mentioned that I listened to Pandora’s free version and put up with the ads. Kiernan advocated for Adblock, that will block any ad on any site. That prompted Kelly to add that if there was a site or individual that relied upon income from the ads on their site, they would not get paid if you used Adblock. If you don’t listen to the ad in its entirety, the individual would not get paid. If you are trying to support individual artists, skipping the ads is damaging. A discussion on the morality of choosing to support the people who provide entertainment ensued.

Helen, a musician who can support her ‘habit’ because she has a good job, talked about the value that musicians and other artists bring to our lives. She told us to think about the ‘background’ music that we have playing constantly; someone worked very hard and put their heart and soul into that very music, and we are listening to it for free. Her personal rule it to pay for all of the music that she loves and listens to. She thinks that it is a societal issue, and that the arts in general are so important to our enjoyment of life, yet we consistently devalue them.

She added:

We hold up the internet as this great tool to discover new music and then what do we do? We screw them over by downloading their music for free.

Hessie jumped in and pointed out that this is reflective of the structure of the internet and how it has devalued so many industries.

Craft Beer and Crappy Beer

When I talked about my college years, paying $2 for a red solo cup and drinking Old Milwaukee all night I assumed that the panel would not know what I was talking about. I was shocked when Armand said that San Francisco has a lot of ‘old timey’ beers that are trendy and served alongside craft beers. Kiernan referenced Pabst Blue Ribbon, also known as PBR, as a disgusting beer that is also a darling of the hipster crowd.

Samantha feels about Molson like I do about Old Milwaukee, and detests how small breweries are being bought up by Molson and the recipes changed. I asked the panel if it mattered who owned the beer in the end. Albert didn’t care at all – as long as it tasted the same.

However, Albert would not be seen drinking Bud Light. Not only did he not like the taste, he thought it said a lot about how you saw yourself and how others see you. The bottle you held in your hand reflected where you were in the social strata. This brought a strong reaction from Kiernan, our resident college student who drinks what he can afford.

Helen had an interesting point: sometimes she wants to sip and savor and be a classy grown up, other times she wants to drink copious amounts of cheap booze. There is a time and a place for everything. She also thought that if anyone judged her on her alcohol choice that was their issue.

Our panel did all weigh in that they love hard cider, which is witnessing a revival currently in the States.

How much do you spend on an evening out drinking?

Albert doesn’t drink much, so he’ll buy one or two drinks to ‘fit in with the situation,’ and it is always a higher priced drink. Kiernan’s budget very much depends upon who he is with and where he’s going. He will go to a very nice high end bar and spend $50 on drinks for a special occasion. He will also go out with his buddies and spend $4/pitcher.

It became clear that much of the budget depended upon who our panel was socializing with. Armand referenced economic research that backs up the idea that we consume certain beverages depending on how we want to feel and who we were with. For example, a fancy drink with old friends may impose an unwanted formality upon the situation.

Do you drink cocktails?

This generation seems to be a lot more sophisticated than my GenX friends and I were at their age; many of them have favorite cocktails and make them at home. Kelly has an in home bar and bragged about 2 signature drinks: Appletinis and Menage a Trois.

I asked about top shelf alcohol, and Helen explained that in Canada they don’t call them out that way. At her home bar she serves decent alcohol, but when she goes out she wants something she doesn’t have at home. Kiernan, still in college, does make cocktails if he is going to have a date over.

How do you see the Budweiser advertising transition?

There has been a lot of talk in marketing circles about Budweiser eliminating the traditional Clydesdales from its holiday ads and refocusing its message more squarely on Millennials, a group that is not buying much Bud. I wondered if our panel had any feelings of nostalgia over this change. Albert, who would never buy a Bud, did say he would miss the tradition, and mentioned the very moving tribute to 9-11 the company produced using its horses.

Interestingly, Armand had a lot to say about the new ads, and Bud may just want to hear this:

 It’s similar to cheap beer and tends to place a heavy emphasis on sexist imagery. It actually turns me off instead of on.

The focus on beer babes makes him really uncomfortable. Albert agreed but he thinks they’re just catering to the NFL crowd. Armand shot back that THAT doesn’t make it ok. Kelly jumped in to say that it’s not the advertiser’s responsibility to promote social change – they just want to make the sale. Samantha advocated to ‘tell them with our dollars’ saying “even if it was the best beer ever we shouldn’t buy it if they are using sexist imagery.”

Kiernan warned:

Millennials are one of the most self aware generations insomuch that if we see something that we know is overtly racist, or overtly sexist, or just reinforcing patriarchal dogma, we will not support that. Because we’re open minded enough and progressive enough to realize that our predecessors are the ones that are holding onto these antiquated, prejudiced ideologies. And we will not subscribe to that. We will conscientiously object to doing that. And what Armand is saying right here about not purchasing Budweiser and being repulsed by these sexist ads… I think that’s completely true across all the board of Millennials.

Kiernan’s statement was strong, and certainly reflective of his and his peers’ expectations and opinion of their generation, but Helen had another take on Millennials. She said that Millennials may not be buying Budweiser, but they certainly were buying other Budweiser owned products. She doesn’t think that her peers are doing enough research and looking deeply into what a corporation stands for. She thinks that many of her friends create these echo chambers, especially online, and they may think that their entire generation thinks like they do personally.


  • GenY loves music, and in general are very willing to pay for it, but they are fairly tight when it comes to paying to see live bands.
  • Millennials may drink cheap beer when they are in college, but once they get a job they are looking for good tasting, quality beer, and they are likely to explore different brands.
  • Cocktails and other drinks that were once seen as ‘very adult’ or for older generations, are being wholeheartedly embraced by GenY.
  • What they drink is very dependent upon the social situation and who they are drinking with.
  • Budweiser has a problem; they may have switched their messaging to tackle that problem, but it looks as like the new message may make matters worse.


We are taking the holiday period off, but will return again on January 8th. Have a great holiday season!

Photo credit: JonathanCohen via photopin cc.

One thought on “Millennial Think Tank: Leisure Time, Music and Alcohol

  1. Wow..It is really fantastic to make leisure with music. I mostly like music when I m going to somewhere for enjoyment. Last time I goes to the condor hotels and they make me also the best facilities and services for me. But I stay there for business purpose. Could here we make business purpose tours. we find such places through possibly go for it..Thanks.

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