March was a month for share shifts and emerging categories, with new brands and styles topping year-over-year growth and sales. St. Patrick’s Day resulted in some surprising changes, particularly among traditional favorites for the occasion, while consumers reached for a newly popular extras subcategory last month. Explore these takeaways and more with five insights from Drizly’s March 2022 sales.

Growing Categories: Olive Juice, Pinotage, and Rice Lager

Amidst a rise in subcategories with strong East Asian origins, such as sake and soju, rice lagers saw high gains within the beer category in March. Top-selling SKUs include Asahi Super Dry, Berryessa Free Kittens Rice Lager (which is from California), and Orion Japanese Beer.

South Africa’s Pinotage grape variety saw gains in the wine category, led by top sellers including Stellar Organics Pinotage, M.A.N Family Wines Pinotage, and Kanonkop Estate Kadette. Meanwhile, olive juice was the fastest-growing extras subcategory in March. Vodka is the top-selling subcategory sold with olive juice, suggesting that consumers were mixing up more martinis last month. “A resurgence of the cocktail provides an opportunity to drive vodka sales, a category whose overall share has been down year-over-year with the rise of other liquor categories like tequila,” says Liz Paquette, Drizly’s head of consumer insights.

St. Patrick’s Day Insights

St. Patrick’s Day is always a strong purchasing occasion on Drizly, but this year saw some unexpected shifts. Wine saw year-over-year share gains (up two percentage points from 32 percent to 34 percent) while liquor saw year-over-year share declines (from 47 percent to 45 percent). “This is an interesting shift given that year-to-date, liquor share is on the rise while wine share is on the decline,” says Paquette.

Within the liquor category, vodka and tequila saw share gains year-over-year, while, surprisingly, popular subcategories like Irish whiskey and cream liqueur experienced declines compared to last St. Patrick’s Day (from 15 percent in 2021 to 12 percent in 2022 for Irish whiskey, and from four percent to three percent over the same time period for cream liqueur). Sales were far above year-to-date averages, however.

Wine category winners included white wine, Champagne, and Prosecco, while red wine and sparkling rosé saw share decreases year-over-year. Within the beer category, St. Patrick’s Day staple dry stout led beer sales but saw a share drop of one percentage point year-over-year. Hard seltzer and light lager experienced gains over the holiday last year.

Market Insights: Utica, New York

This upstate New York city was one of the fastest-growing markets year-over-year. The vast majority of sales in Utica—81 percent—are within the spirits category.

Drizly’s Top-Selling Spirits Brands in Utica, New York, March 2022

  • Woodford Reserve
  • Ketel One
  • El Tesoro
  • Captain Morgan
  • La Marca
  • Redbreast
  • Buffalo Trace
  • Bacardi
  • Fireball
  • Heaven Hill

Fastest-Growing Products in March

Within the spirits category, Lobos 1707 held its spot as the top-selling new liquor brand year-over-year, as it did in February. Showcasing the strength of tequila, Komos was the second-best selling new liquor brand last month.

The wine category also saw a familiar top-seller among new products last month: Avaline, which topped the list in January 2022 as well. Top Box, a boxed wine brand, was the second-fastest growing wine brand in March, led by its Top Box Pinot Grigio White Wine, Top Box Cabernet Sauvignon, and Top Box Red Blend Wine. In the beer category, Fruit Smash, a hard seltzer brand made with real fruit juice and “no artificial aftertaste” from New Belgium Brewing, was one of the fastest-growing brands year-over-year.

Consumers Reach for Cans

The year-over-year share of can purchases is changing, with marked per-category shifts seen in March 2022. Driven by increased adoption of ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktails, spirits accounted for 12 percent of can sales in March 2022 versus seven percent in March 2021. Meanwhile, beer share has decreased from 88 percent of can sales last year to 84 percent in March 2022. Wine remained flat at two percent share of can sales.