With one final hurrah of summer over Labor Day weekend, September marked the transition into fall. After reaching for beverages of all kinds over this peak sales occasion, consumers have begun to seek out seasonal flavors like Oktoberfest beers and Italian reds. Learn more about what consumers are reaching for now with these insights from Drizly’s September 2023 sales.

Sales Growth for NA Spirits, Corvina, and Hard Soda

“Non-alcoholic spirits are showing no signs of slowing growth,” says Liz Paquette, Drizly’s head of consumer insights. “They are consistently the fastest-growing subcategory month over month.” This marks the sixth month this year that NA spirits have been the fastest-growing liquor subcategory on Drizly.

In the wine category, Italian grape variety Corvina led growth, a trend that points to growing popularity in Italian red wines. The northern Italian grape is best known in Valpolicella blends, and the top sellers were Cesari Amarone Della Valpolicella Classico, Masi Bonacosta Valpolicella Classico, and Bolla Bardolino. In the beer category, hard soda stood out, led by Not Your Father’s Root Beer.

Labor Day Weekend Insights

According to CGA by Nielsen IQ, Labor Day is the most valuable Monday of 2023 to date. On Drizly, Labor Day weekend sales over-indexed on liquor (47 percent of share versus 46 percent in 2023 to date) and beer (16 percent versus 15 percent). In the liquor category, silver/blanco tequila matched bourbon this Labor Day weekend, with each holding 11 percent share of the liquor category – an increase of one percentage point year-over-year for silver/blanco tequila. 

Drizly users were drinking more hard seltzer and ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktails over Labor Day weekend compared to 2023 overall, but hard seltzer still experienced year-over-year declines. Hard seltzer held 18 percent of beer share compared to 17 percent year-to-date and 20 percent over Labor Day weekend 2022. RTD cocktails held seven percent share of the liquor category over Labor Day weekend 2023 versus five percent share in 2023 to date.

Market Insights: Fayetteville, Arkansas

As it did in August, Fayetteville, Arkansas, held the top spot in Drizly’s list of fastest-growing wine markets last month, bolstered by the rapid expansion of alcohol delivery across the state. Even more so than last month, liquor dominated local sales with 55 percent of share, followed by wine (24 percent), beer (18 percent), and extras (three percent).

Drizly’s Top-Selling Subcategories in Fayetteville, September 2023

  • Vodka: 17 percent
  • White Wine: 11 percent
  • Light Lager: 8 percent
  • Bourbon: 8 percent
  • Red Wine: 7 percent
  • Flavored Whiskey: 4 percent
  • Silver / Blanco Tequila: 4 percent
  • Hard Seltzer: 3 percent

Breakout Beverage Brands in September 2023

Russian River Valley-based producer Martin Ray experienced the highest year-over-year sales increase in the wine category last month, driven by their Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. In the liquor category, tequila brand Cazcanes led growth. Their top seller was the No. 7 Reposado Tequila followed by the No. 7 Ãñejo Tequila – a nod to the growing prominence of aged tequilas. The third-best seller is the Cazcanes No. 10 Still Strength Blanco Tequila.

In the beer category, Lunar Hard Seltzer led growth last month. The craft hard seltzer brand, which features Asian-inspired flavors like yuzu and Korean plum, is one of Drizly’s Sip with Purpose Brand Accelerator participants; their bestseller is the variety pack.

Consumers Are Turning to Seasonal Beers and Ciders

With Labor Day behind them, consumers settled into the fall season with seasonal favorites in the beer category, among them cider, seasonal beers, and German beers – a classic as Oktoberfest kicks off.