Despite being the year’s shortest month, February saw significant category and brand breakouts and featured several sales-driving occasions, providing interesting takeaways for retailers across the U.S. From specific ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktail flavors experiencing rapid growth to category shifts over Valentine’s Day weekend and the big game, these are five of the top insights from Drizly’s February sales.

Inside February’s Fastest-Growing Subcategories

Once again, hard kombucha was among Drizly’s fastest-growing subcategories in February. “This subcategory continues to land a spot on the fastest-growing subcategories year-over-year as distribution, consumer awareness and exploration of the category continues to grow month-over-month,” says Liz Paquette, Drizly’s head of consumer insights.

RTD cocktails have also been among the fastest-growing subcategories on Drizly for the past year, but in February, Mai Tai RTDs specifically experienced rapid growth. Among the top-selling Mai Tai RTDs on Drizly were SKUs from Cutwater and On the Rocks. 

Within the wine category, Gewürztraminer experienced rapid year-over-year growth in February, driven by varietal wines from producers like Willm, Château Ste. Michelle, and Gundlach Bundschu.

Occasion Insights: The Big Game

Sales spiked for the big game on Sunday, February 7, with Drizly recording sales 38 percent higher than the average of the previous four Sundays. As it has in previous years, beer share increased to 26 percent that Sunday (compared to 16 percent in February overall) while wine and beer both experienced share declines. Though White Claw has held the best-selling beer brand spot so far in 2021 — as it did last year — Bud Light overtook the hard seltzer brand to hold the No. 1 spot for the big game.

Occasion Insights: Valentine’s Day

With Valentine’s Day falling on a Sunday this year, sales spiked throughout the weekend. Valentine’s Day itself saw the highest sales growth (20.8 percent higher than the previous four Sundays), but Friday and Saturday both experienced above-average sales compared to the previous four weeks (14.4 percent and 7.7 percent, respectively).

While liquor held the largest share of sales, wine gained share over Valentine’s Day weekend, holding 41 percent of share versus 39 percent during February overall. Champagne and tequila were the winners among gift orders over Valentine’s Day, comprising the top eight best-selling gifted SKUs over the weekend.

Market Insights: Chattanooga, Tennessee

Chattanooga, Tennessee was the fastest-growing market year-over-year in February, where local Drizly sales skew heavily towards liquor compared to the national average. Liquor holds 57 percent of order share in Chattanooga, followed by wine (27 percent) and beer (14 percent).

Bourbon holds the No. 1 liquor subcategory spot in Chattanooga, while vodka—the No. 1 liquor subcategory nationally—ranks second. However, both subcategories hold significantly more share of liquor sales in Chattanooga than they do nationally: Bourbon holds 25 percent of share (compared to 15 percent nationally) while vodka holds 22 percent of share (compared to 19 percent nationally).

February’s Breakout Brands

The wine, beer, and spirits categories each saw new breakout brands last month. Within the wine category, Stella Rosa—a semi-sweet, fruit-flavored wine—saw breakout performance and drove category growth for fruit wines. The brand’s top five SKUs were Stella Rosa Peach, Stella Rosa Rosso, Stella Rosa Blueberry, Stella Rosa Watermelon, and Stella Rosa Pineapple. 

Vermont’s Fiddlehead Brewing and New York’s Industrial Arts Brewing both saw breakout growth within the beer category in February, each driven by its respective IPA and double IPA SKUs. “This points to the continued growth and consumer exploration of the IPA category,” says Paquette.

Dry gin brand The Botanist, the only dry gin made in Islay, Scotland, saw outstanding growth within the spirits category last month. “The growth of Botanist year-over-year is an indication of the rising popularity of gin among consumers, especially those stirring up cocktails at home,” says Paquette.