In the first month of the all-important OND season, it became evident that some new subcategories and brands could be important drivers of sales through end-of-year. Non-alcoholic spirits, for example, saw movement over Halloween weekend and throughout the month, while a new, direct competitor to High Noon experienced rapid year-over-year growth. At the same time, consumers seem prepared to stock up for the holidays early — perhaps due to the effects of inflation. Learn more about current consumer trends with insights from October 2022 sales.

Category Winners: Non-Alcoholic Spirits, Nebbiolo, and Rice Lager

BevAlc Insights previously predicted that non-alcoholic spirits would be a category to watch going into the fall, and indeed, these growing non-alcoholic options grew rapidly in October 2022 compared to the year prior. Though Seedlip and Ritual Zero Proof have long been popular non-alcoholic spirit brands, new SKUs joined the top 10 list on Drizly last month, including Clean T Tequila Alternative Non-Alcoholic, Spiritless Kentucky 74 Non-Alcoholic Bourbon, Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic Amalfi Spritz, and Owens x Barstool Sports Transfusion Mix.

Italian red wines tend to become more popular in the fall, and last month, Nebbiolo was a best-seller within the wine category. This grape variety, which produces wines that carry a higher average unit price, is the second-most popular Italian red wine grape on Drizly. Top SKUs in October included Vietti Barolo Castiglione, Pio Cesare Barolo, G.D. Vajra Albe Barolo, Vietti Perbacco Nebbiolo, and Renato Ratti Langhe Nebbiolo. Within the beer category, rice lager was popular last month, mirroring beer subcategory trends in March and May. However, October rice lager sales were dominated by Asahi Super Dry, which held the top 10 SKUs.

Halloween 2022 Purchasing Insights

Last Halloween (October 29 to 31, 2021), consumers reached for red wine, ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktails, and tequila, and some of those subcategories remained popular again this year, while others shifted. This year, liquor once again led sales over Halloween weekend (October 28 to 31, 2022), holding 48 percent of share — up two percentage points from last year — followed by wine, which gained one percentage point to hold 35 percent of share, and beer, which dropped two percentage points to hold 15 percent.

Major shifts among top-selling Halloween brands included White Claw, which dropped from the number three to the number four spot compared to Halloween weekend 2021 as Veuve Clicquot moved up into the number three spot. High Noon also gained one position point to reach number five on the list this year. Bud Light dropped out of the top 10 brands, while La Marca and Bota Box both entered the top 10 list.

Drizly’s Top-Selling Brands, Halloween Weekend 2022 (October 28 to 31)

  1. Tito’s
  2. Casamigos
  3. Veuve Clicquot
  4. White Claw
  5. High Noon
  6. Josh Cellars
  7. Clase Azul
  8. La Marca
  9. Don Julio
  10. Bota Box

Tequila was popular once again over Halloween weekend, with tequila brands holding three of the 10 top-selling brand spots overall. Compared to last year, silver/blanco tequila experienced a 10 percent decrease in share while añejo and reposado tequila experienced a 33 percent and 11 percent growth in share, respectively. The rise of these tequila styles has been a trend throughout the year, and retailers should expect them to remain strong through the 2022 holiday season — particularly for gifts.

The ready-to-drink cocktail category was also strong this Halloween weekend, up 25 percent in share over an already-strong 2021 Halloween weekend. However, hard seltzer experienced a 23 percent decrease year-over-year — a trend that has been observed over other recent holidays. Within the beer category, IPA also experienced a share decrease (down 13 percent year-over-year), while light lager (up eight percent), American-style lager (up 18 percent), and hard alternatives such as hard lemonade and hard iced tea (up 29 and 18 percent, respectively) saw share gains.

New winners for Halloween fell within the non-alcoholic alternative category: non-alcoholic wine, beer, and spirits each saw strong growth for Halloween weekend 2022 versus Halloween weekend 2021. NA spirits and NA wine experienced the strongest share growth — 67 and 62 percent, respectively — but NA beer also experienced 38 percent share growth. Retailers should prepare for strong NA sales over other end-of-year occasions, too.

Market Insights: Pensacola, Florida

Located in the western part of Florida’s panhandle, Pensacola was the fastest-growing market across the Drizly network in October. Like many other cities in the South, the market over-indexes on liquor, which holds 65 percent of share, and under-indexes on both beer and wine, which hold seven and 27 percent of share, respectively.

Popular subcategories for Drizly purchasers in Pensacola also differ significantly from national trends. Red wine, which ranks as the most popular subcategory nationwide, ranks fifth in Pensacola, and white wine, which is the second-most popular subcategory nationwide, ranks seventh locally. In contrast, bourbon ranks highest in Pensacola, followed by vodka, Champagne, and silver/blanco tequila.

Top-Selling Drinks Subcategories on Drizly in Pensacola

  1. Bourbon
  2. Vodka
  3. Champagne
  4. Silver / Blanco Tequila
  5. Red Wine
  6. Scotch Whisky
  7. White Wine
  8. Flavored Vodka
  9. Light Lager
  10. Sparkling Rosé Wine

Fast-Growing Beverage Brands in October 2022

New and familiar brands alike topped the list of fast-growing beverages in October. Damm was the fastest-growing beer brand last month, led by gluten-free lager Daura Damm and followed by flagship Estrella Damm. Vodka-based ready-to-drink brand NÜTRL, which launched one of the most popular new products in Q1 of this year, led growth across spirits brands. This could indicate that NÜTRL is finding traction in a niche style pioneered by best-selling RTD brand High Noon — a simple blend of vodka, sparkling water, and fruit juice. Within the wine category, Domaine Hippolyte Reverdy was a fast riser, just as it was in February, indicating that consumers aren’t abandoning their crisp white wines — like this brand’s Sancerre — just yet.

Consumers Are Starting to Stock Up

The early signs of stock-up behavior, which spiked in the early days of the pandemic, are appearing across the Drizly platform as average order values rise. The average order value rose by $2, a total of 3.5 percent, year-over-year in October 2022. “This is a trend that could potentially continue into the holiday season as inflation continues to become a factor in consumer minds, leading to more at-home versus on-premise celebrations,” says Liz Paquette, Drizly’s head of consumer insights.