In the third month of Covid-19’s impact, consumers are attempting to reclaim a sense of normalcy in an abnormal time by recreating cocktails at home, celebrating holidays with familiar beverages, and reaching for seasonal favorites. Explore how consumers are adapting and how at-home beverage consumption is changing with these five insights from Drizly’s May sales data.

Category Growth

In May, the three categories with the highest share growth year-over-year were hard seltzer (up 2.33 percent), silver/blanco tequila (up 1.36 percent), and liqueurs, cordials, and schnapps (up .73 percent). Reinforcing the importance of the category, hard seltzer’s May share growth is likely a result of new consumers purchasing hard seltzer as well as loyalists buying more frequently — even before the summer season hit. 

Several factors contributed to the growth of tequila and liqueurs, but the continued rise of home cocktail culture was likely the most important one. “We know that this experimentation and shift in consumer consumption pre-Covid was already bringing greater attention to the tequila category,” says Liz Paquette, Drizly’s head of consumer insights. “That’s started to really pan out on Drizly in the last few months.” Tequila has also been buoyed by premiumization, with higher-end options entering the category, and top performing markets with a greater Hispanic population, like Dallas and Los Angeles.

Occasion: Cinco de Mayo

This year’s Cinco de Mayo celebration set records. Sales were up over 625 percent over baseline, and it was the highest-performing weekday of the month, even besting the Sunday and Monday of Memorial Day weekend.

“Cinco de Mayo is generally a strong occasion in terms of sales on Drizly,” says Paquette. “With more consumers at home, that exploded.” First-time Drizly users in particular drove sales growth, with new users purchases up over 853 percent over baseline (compared to around 561 percent over baseline for the rest of the week). As might be expected, silver/blanco tequilas were top sellers, accounting for 14.21 percent of sales on May 5, indicating that consumers were still turning to their favorites to celebrate at home. Interestingly, while tequila brands — among them Casamigos, Espolon, Patron, Don Julio, Clase Azul, and Jose Cuervo — along with Cointreau liqueur and Corona beer dominated the top-sellers list, White Claw still managed to make the top ten, emphasizing hard seltzer’s pervasiveness once again.

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Market Insights: New York City

It seems that New Yorkers are increasingly favoring the spirits shelf over the wine rack; in May, New York City experienced year-over-year share decreases in wine across the board, with white wine down 3.25 percent, rosé down 2.53 percent, red wine down 2.26 percent, and Champagne down .75 percent. Conversely, share increases of tequila (1.98 percent), liqueurs/cordials/schnapps (1.17 percent), and bourbon (1.34 percent) were all greater than the national average. 

“This is likely due in large part to the closures of on-premise locations during these past few months,” says Paquette. “We know the on-premise experience is a huge part of the culture in the city, and cocktails are a star of that show.” Without restaurants and bars to frequent, New Yorkers are working to recreate their favorite cocktails at home instead.

Product Breakouts

In the month of May, Aperol, White Claw, and Casamigos all experienced standout year-over-year growth for different reasons. Aperol’s growth partially underscores the rise of at-home cocktail culture and partially points to seasonal drinking shifts. “It’s the start of spritz season,” says Paquette. “Aperol has done a remarkable job of making their brand a lifestyle.”

The growth of White Claw indicates the continued growth of the hard seltzer category as a whole, as the brand continues to represent the majority of hard seltzer sales. While Casamigos has been a standout tequila brand in particular, its growth is buoyed by the overall growth of the tequila category — particularly in a month with record-breaking Cinco de Mayo sales.

Consumer Insights

New buyers were significantly younger during the month of May, with an average age of 36.71, compared to an average age of 38 or older in the two months prior. Largely driven by word of mouth, younger consumers are increasingly discovering the merits of online alcohol purchasing and newly ordering through Drizly. 

“As many younger, digitally-savvy consumers were staying home due to off-premise closures,” says Paquette, “they sought out a tech solution that could bring those goods right to their doors.”