What Winter Holds for Bev/Al Sales

Traditional winter alcoholic beverages will do well this winter, Drizly data indicates as will trendy non-alcoholic options which also are likely to see major gains, even beyond Dry January and wellness-oriented New Year’s resolutions. 

“Non-alcoholic products are becoming more and more of a favorite year-round, especially for casual socializing like for gatherings around TV and sports, making things like football season a sales opportunity for these products,” says Liz Paquette, Drizly’s head of consumer insights.

Inflation is expected to continue to slow. “Inflation in general is under control as far as the Federal Reserve is concerned, and general food and beverage numbers are not skewed too far from the CPI averages,” says Jon Berg, the VP of beverage alcohol thought leadership at NielsenIQ, adding that the higher costs of on-premise beverage consumption may drive even more consumers to celebrate at home.

No/Low Alc to Flourish

“NA products are expected to continue to flourish,” says Berg. “Currently the perfect storm of moderation in alcohol consumption, the need for product authenticity, and consumers wanting to fit into their social groups, all conspire for a positive outlook on NA.” 

Berg’s thoughts are corroborated by Drizly data, which suggests NA is the category to watch right now. The NA category saw 62 percent growth in share on Drizly in 2023 over 2022, led by NA spirits, which expanded by 167 percent share year-over-year. While NA beer, wine, and spirits all grew significantly in 2023, it’s likely that NA mocktails and RTDs will drive category sales this season.

A Two-Pronged Wine Market

Red wine is expected to remain a favorite – but generational shifts and emerging preferences will change which red wines drinkers lean toward. 

Adam Rogers, a research director with IWSR Drinks Market Analysis, describes the U.S. market as two-pronged – less engaged, more price sensitive and often older consumers are reducing their activity or leaving the category altogether, while younger consumers are more engaged and exerting ever-greater influence.

Many of these younger consumers are branching away from traditional domestic wines, such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir, and instead choosing alternative grape varieties — especially those from Italy. In 2023 to-date, share of Italian wine has grown on Drizly to 14% share from 13% a year earlier.

Among the fastest growing wine varieties on Drizly year-to-date are Sagrantino, Brunello, and Corvina. The best-selling Italian wine grape by far is Pinot Grigio, which accounts for 60 percent share followed by Nebbiolo, Montepulciano, and Sangiovese — but the share of all of those has all remained flat year-over-year. 

A Comeback for Core Beer?

Core beer, which excludes hard seltzer, saw sales rise to 12% share on Drizly this year from 11 .8% last year. Light lager is up to 19.5% share from 18%, and American style lager and dry stout are seeing similar gains, Drizly says.

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