Drizly is the biggest ecommerce platform in America for connecting local retailers of beer and other booze to customers online. The company partners with retail stores in more than 100 cities across North America to serve up a big selection with competitive pricing and the luxury of delivery to your door. While Drizly is certainly not everywhere in America because of outdated alcohol laws, the company has a lot of connections to specific alcohol markets around the United States. Sometimes the company shares data it captures or predictions on various market aspects.
Recently, Liz Paquette, head of consumer insights at Drizly, shared with us the following predictions based on data from Drizly’s network of 1,400 plus retailer partners throughout North America. As summer comes to an end and we approach the season of foliage, pumpkin spice and sweater weather, Drizly is predicting the top drink trends for the upcoming season. Liz, take it away…
Fall beer to stay
Beer is always popular, specifically in the fall. However, just as we saw with cider, the beer category has been overtaken by Hard Seltzer throughout the summer months. Similarly, with cider, we do expect some of the balance to shift back as the weather cools and customers start craving something a little heartier. Lagers, IPAs and witbiers will continue to dominate. Though we’ve seen an increased interest in sour ales in the summer months, we expect those to step aside to make way for other categories as the temperatures chill. As expected with fall, heavy and darker beers will increase in popularity once again, with interest shifting from fruit beers, shandies, hard lemonades and hard iced teas to seasonal favorites, stouts, Belgian-style ales and porters.
Red wine still dominates
With the continued growth in the wine category (49.73 percent of total sales on Drizly, compared to 24.05 and 26.22 percent for beer and liquor, respectively), we anticipate red wine to be one of the strongest contenders for sales this fall. Each year, we see a steady increase in red wine sales and share of category, starting in late August and continuing through the winter months. In 2018, we saw a 5 percent increase in share of red wine sales from September to October and another 3 percent jump from October to November.
Cider at risk due to hard seltzer phenomenon
Interestingly, year-over-year, share of cider sales through the summer have decreased by a little over 1 percentage point, from 6.11 percent in July of 2018 to 4.97 percent in July of 2019. We attribute this to the explosive growth in the hard seltzer category, which grew from 6.26 percent share of the category in July of 2018 to a whopping 17.48 percent share of sales in the category in July of 2019, and with continued growth into August. We anticipate the hard seltzer category will continue to dominate through September, at which time sales will start to taper off as the seasons change. While we may not see a year-over-year increase in sales due to this, cider is a fall classic and we expect sales to climb leading into fall up through October, when they generally peak. We expect original craft cider flavors will still lead category sales this fall, even though they are sharing the market with newer more innovative flavors like rosé and pumpkin cider. These newer cider flavors are gaining popularity on Drizly, but sales growth is tempered by narrower retail distribution.
Whiskey even hotter for fall
While many have an appetite for bolder whiskeys, as novice’s flock to the category, approachable whiskeys gain traction too. We do anticipate both Bourbon and Scotch Whiskey to increase in total share of the liquor category from late August through December, when those sales typically peak. Whiskey blends and Japanese Whiskey saw sales increases in H1 of this year and with these being great gifts for the upcoming holiday season, we don’t expect that momentum to slow any time soon. As competition rises in the craft distilling space, with more craft and micro distilleries opening doors each month, barrel finishes have become incredibility popular this year and retailers are having to decide between putting core expressions or unique finished bottles on shelves, or if it’s worth it to make room for both.