With two major occasions occurring in November — Election Day (as well as Election “Call” Day, when the presidential race was called) and Thanksgiving — Drizly data last month illustrated interesting trends for the holidays ahead and major 2021 events. Breakout brands and fast-growing categories indicate a strong consumer preference for richer beverages as the seasons cool, while wine — particularly sparkling wines — gets a boost from holiday sales. Explore these trends and more with these five insights from Drizly’s November sales.

Sales Growth for Dubbel, Lambrusco, and Bitters

Though ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktails and hard kombucha remain among Drizly’s fastest-growing categories month-over-month, a few of the categories experiencing the highest year-over-year growth in November were dubbel beer, Lambrusco, and bitters. Top-selling bitters in November included Angostura aromatic bitters, Angostura orange bitters, Peychaud’s Bitters, Regan’s Orange Bitters, and Fee Brothers Orange Bitters. “The strong growth for bitters is a sign that at-home cocktail culture is returning as we transition through the fall and into the winter months,” says Liz Paquette, Drizly’s head of consumer insights.

Lambrusco is the latest Italian wine varietal to see standout growth after trends earlier in the fall indicated that consumers were increasingly reaching for Italian wine varieties as they longed for missed travel opportunities. And as winter approached, consumers increasingly reached for dubbel beers, making it one of the fastest-growing beer subcategories on Drizly, with SKUs like Chimay Premiere Ale, Rochefort 6, and Ommegang Abbey Ale leading the pack. “Sales rose in November, particularly around Thanksgiving, suggesting consumers opted for this Belgian rich, malty beer as they celebrated the holiday,” says Paquette.

Election Day Sales Shakeups

Both Election Day (Nov. 3) and Election “Call” Day (Nov. 7) were strong sales days on Drizly, indicating that consumers across the country were paying close attention to the 2020 presidential election as results rolled in. Sales on Election Day were 66.7 percent higher than the average of the previous four Tuesdays, and sales on Election “Call” Day were 30.2 percent higher than the average of the previous four Saturdays, excluding Halloween. 

Consumers increasingly reached for wine — specifically red wine — on Election Day, with wine sales comprising 42.4 percent of share (up 1.5 percent from the average of the previous four Tuesdays). Of those wine sales, red wine comprised 45.9 percent of share, up 3.6 percent over the average of the previous four Tuesdays. Though liquor share trailed wine, it still made up a strong percentage of sales — 40.8 percent — with bourbon and rye whiskeys experiencing share growth compared to the average of the previous four Tuesdays (nearly 19 percent of liquor share for bourbon, up 1.5 percent, and 3.7 percent for rye, up 1.3 percent).

Drizly sales did vary by state on Election Day, with blue states* experiencing much higher sales growth over the average of the previous four Tuesdays than red states: 75.3 percent growth for blue states versus 33 percent for red, with swing states sitting in the middle at 54.8 percent. Blue states over-indexed on wine, while red states over-indexed on beer, a trend that has occurred in previous election seasons as well. Among major cities where Drizly operates, East Coast cities experienced sales growth (versus the previous four Tuesdays) that was above the national average: 83.4 percent in Boston, 110.4 percent in New York City, and 132.6 percent in Washington, D.C. Conversely, Chicago (55.2 percent) and Los Angeles (35 percent) sales growth was below the national average

On Election “Call” Day, consumers across the country were increasingly reaching for bubbly; sparkling wine and Champagne was the top-selling wine subcategory that Saturday, accounting for 44.3 percent of wine sales (up from an average of 21 percent of share over the previous four Saturdays, excluding Halloween). All states saw an uptick in wine sales share for sparkling wine and Champagne on Election “Call” Day: 45.9 percent of share in blue states, 41.6 percent of share in red states, and 40.8 percent of share in battleground states.

Thanksgiving Stock-ups and Gifting

Anticipated store closures on Thanksgiving Day resulted in sales spikes on Drizly in the days leading up to the holiday, a trend that will likely occur for upcoming December holidays like Christmas as well. Wednesday, Nov. 25 experienced the highest Thanksgiving week sales spike, with sales 173.6 percent higher than the average of the previous four Wednesdays, followed by Tuesday, Nov. 24 (69.8 percent higher than the average of the previous four Tuesdays, excluding Election Day), and Monday, Nov. 23 (43.6 percent higher than the average of the previous four Mondays).

Wine overtook liquor as the top-selling category on Drizly during the Thanksgiving stocking period (Nov. 23 to Nov. 25), increasing from 41.3 percent of share during the same time period the previous week to 43.6 percent (liquor, conversely, declined from 42.8 percent of share to 40.3 percent). Champagne and sparkling wine experienced week-over-week share gains, increasing from 17.9 percent of wine sales share to 20.1 percent of wine sales share, and more traditional sparkling wine best-sellers like Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Champagne and La Marca Prosecco were joined by American sparkling wine Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs in the top 10 wine SKUs list.

Within the liquor category, liqueurs, cordials, and schnapps gained week-over-week share, accounting for 7.7 percent of liquor sales during the Thanksgiving stocking period. Whiskey and tequila experienced year-over-year share gains (from 41.1 percent to 42 percent of liquor share for whiskey, and from 10.8 percent to 12.3 percent of share for tequila), and top-selling tequilas like Casamigos Blanco and Clase Azul Reposado moved up in the top 10 liquor SKUs list during the Thanksgiving stocking period versus the week prior.

Consumers were also increasingly purchasing gifts on Drizly ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday; the gift order share of total sales grew 44.4 percent year-over-year during the Thanksgiving stocking period, a trend that is likely to continue into December holidays. “With many loved ones spending the holidays apart this year,” says Paquette, “we are expecting gifting to capture greater order share than in years past as customers shift to sending friends and family a bottle instead of sharing a glass together across the table.”

Portland, Oregon Reaches for Local Beer and Wine

After the Oregon Liquor Control Commission amended its alcohol delivery rules earlier this fall, including widening the hours for delivery for beer and wine, the city of Portland has experienced strong year-over-year sales growth on Drizly. Wine and beer products from Oregon producers like Argyle Winery and Ecliptic Brewing rank among the market’s top 10 best-sellers, showcasing the city’s love for local beverages.

Drizly’s Best-Selling SKUs in Portland, Oregon, 2020

  1. Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow Label Champagne 
  2. La Marca Prosecco 
  3. Moët & Chandon Impérial Brut Champagne
  4. Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay 
  5. Argyle Vintage Brut 
  6. Ecco Domani Pinot Grigio 
  7. Hess Select Monterey Chardonnay 
  8. Veuve Clicquot Rosé Champagne
  9. Ecliptic Starburst IPA 
  10. Waterbrook Malbec 

Whiskey SKUs Lead Breakout Brands

November’s breakout brands experienced sales boosts due to myriad factors. Overall, whiskey dominated the month’s breakout SKUs, with Redemption Straight Rye, High West American Prairie Bourbon, and Sazerac Rye all seeing exceptional growth. “All three of the breakout whiskey products are not among the typical top-selling whiskey brands on Drizly,” says Paquette. “This suggests that customers may be exploring new brands in the category as interest in whiskey grows over the holidays and winter months.”

Within the wine category, Italy’s Bolla experienced breakout growth due to its Chianti and Valpolicella SKUs, while Champagne Bollinger was boosted by their Bollinger Special Cuvée Brut. Among beer breakouts were Massachusetts’ Exhibit A Brewing with their The Cat’s Meow IPA — a New England/Hazy IPA, which has been a popular beer subcategory this year — and Pennsylvania’s Tröegs, which saw sales growth for its Mad Elf Ale, indicating that consumers are reaching for seasonal favorites. Chimay also experienced breakout growth, not only due to the success of its dubbel beer, Chimay Premiere Ale, but due to strong sales for the Chimay Grande Reserve Belgian Strong Ale and Chimay Cinq Cents Tripel.

*Measured blue states where Drizly operates: CA, OR, WA, IL, MA, RI, CT, NJ, NY, VT, MD, DC. Measured red states where Drizly operates: ID, WY, OK, MO, LA, TN, KY. Measured swing/battleground states where Drizly operates: TX, CO, FL, MN, NC, OH, AZ, GA, PA.