The month of July saw a continuation of many of the previous month’s biggest trends. Hard seltzer, tequila, and ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages still represent the fastest-growing categories and brands, particularly on summer’s biggest imbibing holiday, Fourth of July. But the month’s sales data also points to changes ahead, from a new category poised for growth to shifting preferences among female Drizly users. Learn more about what’s coming next with these insights from Drizly’s July sales.

Hard Seltzer Leads Category Growth

The categories experiencing the highest year-over-year share growth in July mirrored those in June: hard seltzer (1.29 percent increase), silver/blanco tequila (.97 percent increase), and RTD beverages (.90 percent increase). While hard seltzer and silver/blanco tequila continue to dominate, their year-over-year growth rates slowed compared to the month prior, while the growth rate for RTD beverages increased slightly. “Interestingly, the continued growth of the RTD category can be attributed to High Noon, with share growing to 69.2 percent,” says Liz Paquette, Drizly’s head of consumer insights.

Top Takeaways from Fourth of July 

For the second year running, Fourth of July was a hard seltzer-driven holiday. In 2020, hard seltzer accounted for 25 percent of beer category sales, up from 17 percent last year. As the category’s popularity continues to soar, the number of hard seltzer products on the market continues to expand, much to consumers’ appreciation. While White Claw retained the top spot for category share, it fell from 63 percent in 2019 to 53 percent in 2020. 

At the same time, Truly and Smirnoff — which were both among the top five hard seltzers in 2019 — gained category share along with new hard seltzer products from Bud Light and Corona. “Newcomer seltzers from Bud Light and Corona benefit from the brand awareness and loyalty both have in the beer category,” says Paquette, “this carries over as many consumers choose seltzers over beer this summer.”

Fourth of July also yielded significant growth for RTD beverages, driving the category’s largest sales spike since April.

Regional Spotlight: Westchester County, New York

New York’s Westchester County — located just north of New York City — was one of the fastest-growing markets on Drizly in July. Paquette attributes this to increased awareness of the platform in the months since Covid-19 hit, particularly because Westchester County was one of the first areas of the U.S. to go into lockdown in March. “Many customers who made their first Drizly order amidst the quarantine have continued to use the platform since,” says Paquette, adding that New York City residents may be spending more time (and ordering more on Drizly) outside the city.

Top-selling categories within Westchester have also changed over the past year. “It is likely a result of the growth in new customers, who are driving a change in the demographic makeup and purchasing behavior of the market,” says Paquette. Category share of red wine dipped from 15.46 percent in July 2019 to 10.2 percent in July 2020, while white wine rose to the top-selling spot with 16.28 percent of share (up from 15.3 percent last year). Vodka (10.7 percent), rosé wine (6.2 percent), and silver/blanco tequila (6.15 percent) round out the top five categories for this year, while cognac, RTD cocktails, and Champagne saw the highest share gains year-over-year.

Breakout Products for Your Radar

As it was in June, High Noon was a high-growth product in July, experiencing .66 percent growth year-over-year. It was joined by breakout brands Casamigos (+.47 percent), Truly (+.41 percent), and Josh Cellars (+.35 percent). These product breakouts point to larger trends, such as the prevalence of at-home cocktail culture and hard seltzer’s continued dominance, as well as brand-specific efforts, such as strong consumer outreach (which has buoyed Josh Cellars) and new product launches. “Truly launched Truly Hard Seltzer Lemonade earlier this year,” says Paquette, “which they have attributed to higher than expected growth and repeat purchases.”

In terms of brands showing the YOY share growth on Drizly, High Noon was joined by Skrewball, Cayman Jack, and El Tesoro within the liquor category. Additional wine brands that were showing outsized gains included Terrazas de los Andes, Roscato, Folonari, and Murphy-Goode. In the beer category, Truly was joined by Might Squirrel, Sloop Brewing Co, Smirnoff Seltzer, and Offshoot Beer Co as marking gains.

Demographic Insights: Wine’s Share Declines Among Women

Women seemed to be shifting away from wine in the month of July. Female Drizly users purchasing wine decreased by 5 percent, while the percentage of women purchasing beer, liquor, and extras all increased slightly. Within the liquor category, vodka lost 7.32 percent of share year-over-year among female users, dropping from 33.08 percent in 2019 to 25.76 percent in 2020.

While silver/blanco tequila (+1.78 percent) and liqueur, cordials, and schnapps (+1.11 percent) saw share increases among female users, once again, the share shifts away from wine and vodka were largely attributed to hard seltzer and RTD beverages — particularly High Noon. “High Noon, which is vodka with fruit juice and sparkling water, is potentially a substitute for cocktails that were previously being made with vodka,” notes Paquette.