What are consumers reaching for in the first month of the all-important OND? Our highlights from last month’s sales on Drizly contain some early indicators for the holiday season. For one, retailers shouldn’t sleep on non-alcoholic spirits – they once again top year-over-year growth within the spirits category, making that the case for more than half of 2023. At the same time, consumers are splurging less on spirits, something to keep in mind through the end of the year. Learn more about these and more insights from Drizly’s October 2023 sales.

Fastest-Growing Beverage Subcategories in October

If the previous nine months haven’t already indicated that non-alcoholic spirits are the success story of the year, October once again underscores that notion. Non-alcoholic spirits were the fastest-growing subcategory of liquor year-over-year, a trend that is expected to continue into 2024.

As it did in August 2023, the Spanish grape Verdejo led wine varieties for year-over-year growth. Bestsellers include Gulp/Hablo La Mancha Verdejo, Naia Verdejo, and Marqués De Cáceres Verdejo. And as Oktoberfest celebrations continued stateside, German beer dominated the fastest-growing beer categories, with Kristalweizen, Weizenbock, Doppelbock, and Marzen/Oktoberfest topping the charts.

Halloween 2023 Purchasing Insights

Sales on Drizly were strong on Halloween, with levels 24 percent higher than the average sales of the previous four Tuesdays. Liquor was flat compared to the rest of October, holding at 45 percent of share. Liqueurs, cordials, and schnapps gained one percentage point (six percent share) on Halloween versus the rest of the month, suggesting that consumers were shaking up more cocktails to celebrate the occasion.

Wine share was up one percentage point, sitting at 39 percent of share, while beer was down one percentage point, holding 14 percent of share. Red wine gained two percentage points versus the entire month of October, holding 40 percent of category share, while Champagne and sparkling wine was down two percentage points to 19 percent. Within the beer category, cider was up to five percent of share.

Market Insights: Jackson, Mississippi

Mississippi is a relatively new state on the Drizly platform, as it just legalized alcohol delivery in 2021. Last month, the state’s capital was the fastest-growing market on the platform versus the year prior.

Retailers in Mississippi are restricted to selling either beer or wine and spirits, so Jackson’s category breakdowns run 75 percent liquor and 24 percent wine. Whiskey and vodka were the most popular subcategories last month, each with 23 percent of share, followed by tequila (16 percent), red wine (10 percent), white wine (eight percent), brandy (four percent), rum (four percent), and Champagne/sparkling wine (three percent).

Drizly’s Top-Selling Brands in Jackson, Mississippi, October 2023

  1. Tito’s
  2. Patrón
  3. Don Julio
  4. Maker’s Mark
  5. Crown Royal
  6. Jack Daniel’s
  7. Ketel One
  8. Burnett’s
  9. Svedka
  10. New Amsterdam

Breakout Beverage Brands

As the momentum for non-alcoholic spirits, so has the Kin Euphorics brand, which specializes in non-alcoholic alternatives that contain wellness-oriented ingredients like adaptogens and nootropics. Founded by Jen Batchelor and Bella Hadid, Kin Euphorics’ bestselling SKUs last month were Kin Spritz, Lightwave, Kin Bloom, Actual Sunshine, and Dream Light.

Within the wine category, Whitehall Lane, a Napa Valley winery based in the Rutherford AVA, led growth. Their top seller is the Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. And within the beer category, Mickey’s Malt Liquor had a strong month; the brand is made by Miller Brewing Company.

Consumers Are Splurging Less on Spirits

Though the average per-SKU spend on wine and beer has held steady year-over-year – $19.54 for wine, $15.82 for beer – that figure has dropped slightly for liquor, with the average unit price sitting at $27.47 in October 2023 (down from $29.42 in October 2022). This suggests that consumers are not splurging as much on spirits this year, a trend that could carry through the holiday season. This is in line with data from Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America, which reported in its holiday trends and 2024 preview that spirits priced above three figures were down in volume by 14 percent from September 2022 to August 2023. The mid-tier segment, in contrast, is up.