Though summer trends were still on full display in August on Drizly, hints of the fall to come started to sneak in, from the early onset of pumpkin ale purchases to shifts towards midweek purchasing — potentially impacted by increased restrictions imposed by the Delta variant. Explore fastest-growing subcategories and brands, shifts in consumer behavior, and more with these five insights from Drizly’s August 2021 sales.

Summer and Fall Favorites Top Fastest-Growing Subcategories

August category trends indicated a convergence of summer and fall preferences. Within the spirits category, piña colada ready-to-drink (RTD) SKUs topped the list of fastest-growing liquor subcategories year-over-year. “This points to the continued flavor diversification driving this category’s explosive growth,” says Liz Paquette, Drizly’s head of consumer insights. Top SKUs included Cutwater Bali Hai Piña Colada, BuzzBallz Lotta Colada, Daily’s Piña Colada Frozen Pouch, BuzzBallz Chillers Pineapple Colada, and The Club Piña Colada.

Fitting with the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo in early August, sake was the fastest-growing wine subcategory, driven by Junmai Daiginjo SKUs. Top brands included Dassai, SOTO, Hakutsuru, Horin Gekkeikan, and Heavensake. 

But fall trends crept in early as pumpkin ale showed early growth, leading the list of fastest-growing beer subcategories year-over-year. Voodoo Ranger Atomic Pumpkin was a Drizly shopper favorite.

Saturday Purchasing Shifts

In August, consumers shifted away from Saturday purchasing, with Saturday order share dropping both year-over-year and month-over-month: from 21 percent in August 2020 and 20 percent in July 2021 to 17 percent in August 2021. As a result, Thursdays, Tuesdays, and Sundays have gained order share. “The shift may point to a trend of more midweek ordering as we move into the fall season and the Delta variant puts more restrictions in place,” says Paquette.

August’s Fastest-Growing Brands

“A consumer trend emerged in the fastest-growing wine brands in August: both brands market themselves as no-sugar-added, pointing to a consumer desire for ‘clean,’ health-conscious wine offerings,” says Paquette. Those fast-growing brands were Liquid Light, with its top-selling Sauvignon Blanc, and Avaline, led by its rosé and white blend.

Two emerging whiskey brands led August growth within the liquor category: Horse Soldier, which is owned, run, and staffer by veterans, and Wyoming Whiskey. Within the beer category, Texas-based hard seltzer brand Lone River once again topped growth charts, while Burlington Beer Co. was the fastest-growing beer-specific brand, led by the It’s Complicated Being a Wizard IPA.

Consumers Continue to Premiumize

Premiumization has been increasing for the last few years, and it shows no signs of slowing. The overall average unit price on Drizly grew 5.4 percent year-over-year in August, and wine has seen the most significant impacts, with average unit price gains of 8.8 percent year-over-year. This has largely been driven by premiumization within the Champagne category. Within the liquor category, premiumization has primarily impacted tequila (specifically anejo and reposado) and whiskey (specifically single-malt whiskey, Japanese whiskey, and Scotch).

Market Insights: Knoxville, Tennessee

The Knoxville market has grown 320 percent year-over-year since last August, making it one of the fastest-growing markets on Drizly last month. Like many other southern U.S. markets, it over-indexes on liquor compared to national sales; spirits hold 64 percent of share in the Knoxville market compared to 44 percent share of total U.S. sales on Drizly.

Whiskey is the top-selling subcategory in Knoxville, where it holds more than double the share that it does nationally (31 percent versus 15 percent, respectively). Bourbon is the top-selling whiskey subcategory, holding 48 percent of share in Knoxville versus 37 percent nationally.