Food & Drink

What Were People Drinking This Christmas?

What were people drinking this holiday season?

You could say people were getting in the Christmas spirits. According to Drizly, liquor commanded 49% of shares in the days leading up to Christmas (December 20th to 24th), while wine took 43%.

Beer accounted for a mere 8% of shares of all drinks purchased, down 3% from the year prior. Liquor and beer sales remained pretty constant compared to the year before, with liquor jumping up 2% and wine up 1%.

Compared to last year, top-selling subcategories remained largely the same. Red wine was the top-selling subcategory, followed by Champagne, bourbon, white wine, Scotch, vodka, silver tequila, reposado tequila, anejo tequila, and prosecco. The only major change? Prosecco dropped two spots—bumped by more premium sparkling options—as the category decreased in share. This drop allowed the anejo and reposado tequila subcategories to crept further up the list of top-selling spirits.

Despite Champagne shortages, the people wanted bubbles. Champagne percent of the share scaled throughout Q4 2021. While Champagne held 7% of share in Q4 2021 overall, during the days leading up to Christmas, Champagne increased to 11% of share of all subcategory sales on Drizly. 

To no surprise, big-name premium brands remained a fixture for gifting. Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow Label, Moët & Chandon, and La Marca Prosecco were the most-gifted SKUs on Drizly, followed by Tito’s, Josh Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, Casamigos, and Grey Goose.

Specific SKUs that grew the most over the holiday period compared to year prior include Garrison Brothers Single Barrel Bourbon, E.H. Taylor, Jr. Single Barrel Bourbon, Johnnie Walker Blue Skyline: New York City Edition, Kentucky Owl Confiscated Bourbon, and Glenfiddich Grand Cru 23 Year.

While the success of these subcategories and products are interesting, they underscore larger trends taking place in the industry. 

Non-alcoholic spirits saw rapid growth, as did non-alcoholic wines, both in step with the category’s rapid proliferation. Over the year, Drizly noted that 26% of retailers stated that non-alcoholic products have the biggest growth potential in the industry for 2022. 90% of retailers on Drizly now carry non-alcoholic beer, wine, and other alternatives, and the share of non-alcoholic products on Drizly has increased by 120% since 2020. 

Orange wine was the fourth fastest-growing category over the period. The style of wine—made with white grapes left to ferment on the skins for an extended period of time— is largely a hallmark of the natural wine movement. The subcategory’s growth marks a greater shift towards natural wine. In Drizly’s annual report, the company found that 66% of retailers surveyed were planning to stock more locally-made products, while 60% noted they were upping their SKUs of organic and natural products. 

Tequila continues to rally as one of the top-performing sectors in spirits. According to the IWSR, Agave-based spirits grew close to +20% in 2020, while US consumption of tequila alone has risen by more than 30% between 2015 and 2020, with premium-and-above products up by over 60%. 

Over the full year, tequila brands like Don Julio and Clase Azul gained shares and over the Christmas period, gold tequila was one of the categories that showed the most growth compared to the year prior. Silver, reposado, and Anejo tequila were all among the top-selling spirits subcategories of the Christmas period.

Drizly’s annual report revealed that 80% of retailers planned to carry more tequila next year, with the category tracking 40 points ahead of vodka.

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