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This thread seems to have taken on different directions…however it’s necessary to bear in mind that ages of 38 and 58 now are quite different in a lifecycle from where they were 30 or 40 years ago for example.

The comments about disposable income for 30 somethings may not be new, but probably say more about a dysfunctional and overpriced housing market in many areas of the UK, especially London and SE, but increasingly Edinburgh and some other cities too…

Concerns about growing sales regardless are more relevant to highly leveraged organisations which the WS is not…as long as there is a sustainable level of turnover for the fixed costs I would be happy…I would be even happier if I found a bottle of Springbank in a dark cupboard too…


I’ve read this thread with interest over the past couple of days and want to thank @Taffy-on-Tour for starting it. What a great debate. There have been some very valid and interesting thoughts and suggestions here on how to attract a younger audience to TWS. I wholeheartedly agree with some of the suggestions and not so much with others…don’t worry, I’ll keep them to myself :wink:.
What is evident and consistent through this thread is the eagerness and interest in coming up with a solution to “fix” the problem. Whilst I don’t necessary think an ageing membership is an imminent issue, attracting a younger audience can only be a good thing for the society, especially if that membership is used on a regular basis.
The solution to any type of sales regardless of age demographic is to identify a person’s buying motives, then sell direct to that motive. Within an age bracket of say 30-40year olds there will be different motivations to make people purchase a membership so all of these motivations need to be catered for. Generally speaking, you are looking at about 5 different buying motives for any situation.

This is an analogy but its also my former life. I was a key account Equine specialist for a pharma company. I sold a number of drugs licensed for horses, predominantly sport horses. (This may help to explain what I mean by selling to “buying motives”).

Client no.1 (Racehorse Vet), He wants to keep his trainers happy,(Who in turn need to keep the owners happy)!
I have a drug which has a 24 hr withdrawal. This means the trainer can race the horse within 24 hours of ingesting the drug and it not show up on a drug test. Now the vet and I both know that actually the trainer can most probably dose the horse 12hrs before the race and it still not show up obviously depending on the horses metabolism, but that’s the trainers decision to make. They also know the horse will not be showing any signs of lameness in the parade ring prior to racing . His motivation is keeping his client happy at all costs and keeping that horse in the competition. That’s his motivation and that’s what you sell to. The withdrawal period of the drug.

Client No.2 (Professor of Veterinary surgery at a large vet hospital).
Wants to ensure he/she are using the best possible product regardless of cost for benefit to their client. (Likelihood an insurance case, cost not an issue).
They want a detailed presentation on the drug , how it works, side effects and how through clinical data it compares with “others” on the market. I’m selling on the credibility and clinical data and efficacy of the drug because that’s the motivation of this client.

Client no. 3 (Vet / Partner) He likes the sound of the product and agrees it makes sense to use however, “it is an expensive drug to push to my clients”. He/she is an equine practice owner, they need to make money. A 50% mark up on a much cheaper product that’s not as good is not going to make you the profit a 50% mark up will make you on a better more efficient drug . Their buying motive is met if finance is a big motivator and that’s what I sell to.

These are examples of selling to buying motives. Whilst these particular situations are very different to TWS the same principle applies.
Like it or not, exclusivity WILL appeal to the motivations of some members and the chance to get their hands on something different and unique their peers cannot because they are not members.
At the same time the excitement of discovering new and various wine regions a potential member has never heard about will motivate others to join.

The chance to seek advice from fellow members on wine within an enclosed community will be the motivating factor for others to join.
So, irrespective of age, identifying a buying motive and selling directly to that need is really how you increase sales of anything. Market research can help to do that especially in the case of TWS. But I am in agreement with @Ludlow_Steve, the marketing, targeting and effective selling should not be restricted to the south, as then, how are you ever going to grow your market.


Just to clarify, I think a concession in a transport hub in a regional city would be an equally good idea - being northern originally myself.

I don’t think the age of the membership is a problem in itself, if we assumed people’s preferences and motivations would change uniformly as they got older. The problem is that people’s preferences don’t necessarily change so uniformly, so if TWS is not able to engage with a 25 - 34 demographic now, it will not be able to engage with a 35 - 44 demographic in ten years’ time - which would be a more significant problem.


I’m not a statistician, but when talking about ‘average age’ of membership, one can’t be a member until 18 and membership is for life, so an average will be weighted by all the members who have joined in the past and haven’t been removed from membership by death.

As probably not all next-of-kin notify TWS of the death of a member the averages may well be skewed by elderly ‘members’ who are now members in name only.

Rather than looking at members, a better indicator woud be by active members, i.e. those who regualrly buy.


I have no desire at this moment in time to join Peters ‘in name only’ category but it is a point and a good one.
As to appealing to younger people there is a problem, one highlighted in another thread awhile back, simply younger people are turning away from alcohol, the Saturday night town centre antics may show something different but the reality is fact…

and those that do drink have a myriad of options…


Lots of good points and ideas being put forward in this thread, some of which are already being looked at or acted upon, some which are less practical for the moment. Watch this space.

Ah, but we are. Without going into great detail, we are currently aiming to attract younger new members to The Society (as well as those whom many would view as ‘traditional’ new members - many will have noticed a change in our tone of voice in our campaigns and social media over the past 18 months. This is part of an ongoing project, by way of evolution, not revolution, in order to attract ‘younger’ members all the while retaining ‘older members’.

For info, over the last 6 months the number of people joining the Society is up on the same period last year, with the proportion of new members aged 18-45 having risen and the proportion of new members over 45 having reduced.

Active membership is increasing. Currently stands at around the 140,000 mark.

It is also weighted by those who are living longer than they used to :slightly_smiling_face:
Re. deceased members, as everyone receives notice of the AGM, and lapsed members receive the occasional mailing in order to rekindle interest, we are pretty much on top of members who have passed away as we receive that information in reply to the sending of literature. In this way, the shares are either cashed in or taken on by next-of-kin and therefore continue to be, or once more become, active.

For the Eqwine Society? I’ll get my coat …


We’ll have no horseplay on this thread :man_student:


Whoah! I think the stable was left unbolted… :racehorse::racehorse:


Let’s do all we canter stick to the mane subject, otherwise we won’t be here furlong …


Perhaps a poll is simpler…

Limited editions?

  • Hay
  • Neigh

0 voters


I think you should all stop talking so much pony! :blush:


Limited edition whisky? EASY

Currently I buy whisky DIRECT from this firm, who bottle straight from the Whisky (or Rum) cask - so it’s cask strength, age statemented, no caramel, numbered bottles from numbered casks. You cant get more genuine - and very limited runs because a cask only holds 300 to 500 bottles. And becasue there isn’t any marketing or ‘head office’ overheads, the prices are excellent.


I might add however that I’m very much against the ‘buying for investment’ idea - it pushes prices up and makes a simple bottle of Springbank unaffordable.


I have a new bookmark…


The “average age” question is a pertinent one - within the last week headlines were generated by the news that the average UK car buyer is 54. Not so the clean, sharp-jawed early-30’s chap in the new car adverts…

But really, car buyers will tend to be between early twenties and late-seventies / eighty. Which puts the average around the fifty mark quite naturally. And so for drinking wine, we can’t expect an average between 0 and ‘the end’, which means the average wine buyer is an ‘older’ (rather than ‘younger’) person.

Is this, then, a case of ‘nothing to see here’? And is it just something which one will tend to discover - if one wishes to do so - later in life, where it’s simply not a priority or a thought for most with other things they consider of greater importance when they are younger, however much you and I might disagree?

With a healthy and active membership already, is there a risk that TWS starts looking for a solution to a problem which doesn’t really exist?


I do agree with you that the “average age” statistic is as useless as it is interesting.

To be fair though, the conversation has revolved more around matters such as whether we are reaching new wine buyers when they become interested in wine. Subsequent discussion followed on constraints such as priority spending on mortgage repayments.

But we do need new members to replace those falling off their perches (and not having their shares taken up by other family members). It makes good sense to have a spread of ages too. For a start, the incremental cost in finding a new member is amortized over a longer time with a younger new member. Also, there may be generational (and indeed sex) differences in taste, and having a spread of ages and diversity generally is a good indicator that the Society is not accidentally locking itself onto “old man’s wine”.

I think that when @Ewan reports (upthread) that -

… then that gives me some confidence. I’m not sure that more precise statistics about how that breaks down will be of much more use, though I may be wrong.





Gosh! I need to try this one! So many members seem to love it!
Incidentally, this is exactly the sort of face my other half pulls if and when I beat him in Badminton. I now regularly refer to him as ‘Old Man Bleasdale’ :wink: