Both familiar and new trends emerged in the month of March, and some of them are telling as indicators for future sales. Light lagers overtook hard seltzers within the beer category, a significant move in the beer category as hard seltzer demand continues to plateau. Meanwhile, consumers are looking for new ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktail options and flavors, which opens up opportunities going into spring and summer months. Discover these and more insights from Drizly’s March 2023 sales.

The Fastest-Growing Beverage Categories in March 2023

Last month, ready-to-drink martini cocktails experienced exceptional year-over-year growth, another sign that consumers are branching out with their RTD flavors. Top sellers included On The Rocks Effen Vodka Espresso Martini, Two Chicks Sparkling Cranberry & Lime Tartini, Batch & Bottle Hendrick’s Gin Martini, Loverboy Espresso Martini, and Bols Espresso Martini.

The Malvasia grape variety saw breakout growth within the wine category in March; the kosher Bartenura Malvasia drove sales this month. Within the beer category, dubbel came out on top. The classic Belgian beer capitalized on the last days of winter with its darker, richer style and malty flavor profile.

Occasion Insights: St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day often results in an uptick of dry stout and Irish whiskey sales, but this year, more Drizly consumers opted to stick with year-round favorites. Each subcategory was the third-best selling one within its respective category, experiencing strong share gains over St. Patrick’s Day but not as strong as the occasion last year.

On March 17, dry stout held 12.8 percent share of the beer category, compared to 1.9 percent in 2023 to date. However, it was down from last year’s 17.5 percent share, and it was outranked by both light lager and hard seltzer on March 17, 2023. A similar phenomenon occurred with Irish whiskey, which held 9.2 percent share of the liquor category – up from 3.4 percent year-to-date. Last year, it held 11.7 percent share on St. Patrick’s Day, and both vodka and bourbon held higher share this year.

Market Insights: Tulsa, Oklahoma

Just as it was in December 2022, Tulsa, Oklahoma, was the fastest-growing market on Drizly last month. Liquor was the most popular category among Tulsa purchasers, with 39 percent of share in March, versus 46 percent nationwide. Wine followed with 34 percent share (versus 28 percent nationwide) and beer trailed at 25 percent but outpaced national trends (14 percent of share). The best-selling categories in Tulsa last month were vodka, white wine, red wine, light lager, and hard seltzer.

Breakout Beverage Brands

Once again, NÜTRL came out on top among spirits brands last month; the vodka-based ready-to-drink cocktail experienced a strong year-over-year sales increase. NÜTRL’s best-selling products were the Vodka Seltzer Fruit Variety Pack, Lemonade Variety Pack, Cranberry Vodka Seltzer Variety Pack, Pineapple Vodka Seltzer, and Watermelon Vodka Seltzer.

The Israeli wine brand Yarden experienced strong growth last month amidst Purim and ahead of Passover; the winery’s top seller was their Cabernet Sauvignon, followed by Merlot and Pinot Noir. Within the beer category, Brooklyn’s Other Half Brewing Company experienced a strong sales increase; top SKUs included Other Half Green City, Other Half Double Dry Hopped Green City IPA, Other Half Double Dry Hopped Forever Ever, Other Half Forever Ever Session IPA, and Other Half Brewing Double Dry Hopped All Citra Everything DIPA.

Consumers Favor Light Lager Over Hard Seltzer

In a reversal of trends set into motion in the summer of 2019, light lager share surpassed hard seltzer in March 2023. Last month, light lager held 20 percent share of the beer category and hard seltzer held just 17; in March 2022, hard seltzer held 19 percent share while light lager trailed with 18 percent. Demand for hard seltzer began to level off in late 2021 and 2022, but this share shift could indicate that light lager is making a comeback for this spring and summer.