Just as consumers seek out full-flavored, comforting beverages like IPA, red wine, and whiskey in the fall and winter months, they traditionally gravitate toward more refreshing options when warm weather arrives. The white wine, vodka, and light lager categories have all experienced share gains on Drizly in 2023 year-to-date, and they are expected to see additional growth this spring. 

BevAlc Insights reviewed Drizly data to predict the top-selling categories, subcategories, SKUs, and brands for spring 2023. Armed with these insights, retailers can get a jump on seasonal trends for Q2 and make more informed stocking decisions.

White Wine Will Gain Share

White wine share on Drizly is gaining, and the subcategory stands to see additional growth this spring. 

In 2023 to date, white wine accounts for 29 percent share of the wine category, up from 27 percent during the same period in 2022. From April 2022 through October 2022, white wine comprised 30 percent share of sales for the overall wine category.

White wine selections from New Zealand are hot sellers for the category. In 2023 to date compared to the same period last year, sales share increased from 24 to 25 percent. 

Among Drizly’s top-selling white wine brands for the past 12 months, Kim Crawford, Bota Box, Oyster Bay, Josh Cellars, and Barefoot comprise the top five. Sauvignon Blanc dominates the list of best-selling white wine SKUs for the same period: the top four white wines SKUs were Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc, Whitehaven Sauvignon Blanc, Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio, and Matua Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.

The fastest-growing varietal white wines year-over-year include French, Spanish, and Italian options: Verdicchio, Verdejo, Vermentino, Falanghina, and Aligote.

Vodka and Tequila Will Rise Over Whiskey 

Both vodka and tequila—common ingredients in warm-weather cocktails—have seen share gains on Drizly. In 2023 to date, vodka’s share increased from 23 to 24 percent compared to the same period in 2022, and tequila’s share grew from 17 to 18 percent. At the same time, whiskey has seen a fairly significant share decline from 38 percent of the overall spirits category to 35 percent. 

The top five vodka brands on Drizly over the past 12 months include Tito’s, Grey Goose, Smirnoff, Ketel One, and Svedka. During the same period, unflavored vodkas have topped Drizly’s list of hot SKUs, with Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Grey Goose Vodka, Smirnoff No. 21 Vodka, Ketel One Vodka, and SVEDKA Vodka comprising the top five.

Within the tequila category, reposado has increased from 27 percent share to 29 percent in 2023 year-to-date versus the same period in 2022. 

“Consumer interest, subsequent innovation, and new launches have continued to drive growth,” notes Liz Paquette, the head of consumer insights at Drizly “Tequila has been on the rise for the past couple of years.”

Dale Stratton, an analyst for SipSource by Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America, which tracks distributor depletion data across the country, also points to product expansions as one of the main drivers behind tequila’s ongoing success. 

“Producers have done a great job expanding the product beyond the margarita,” he says. “Tequila is seen as a crafted spirit product, and the creation of the ‘sipping occasion’ has been huge for the segment.” 

Ready-to-Drink (RTD) Growth Will Persist 

The ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktail category has grown in 2023 to date from four percent share to five percent versus the same period last year. As with tequila, Paquette attributes the continued growth to new brand launches and product innovations that capture consumer interest.

SipSource data show that RTD sales increased nearly 24 percent in 2022. “We expect to see these trends continue to grow in 2023,” says Stratton, “as consumer demand remains high.” 

The five best-selling RTD brands on Drizly during the last 12 months include High Noon, Cutwater Spirits, On The Rocks, Jose Cuervo, and 1800 Tequila. High Noon dominates Drizly’s list of top-selling SKUs, with High Noon Vodka Hard Seltzer Variety Pack, High Noon Vodka Hard Seltzer Limited Edition Tropical Variety Pack, Cutwater Tequila Lime Margarita, High Noon Limited Edition Pool Pack Vodka Hard Seltzer, and High Noon Peach Vodka Hard Seltzer landing in the top five.

Light Lager Will Overtake Hard Seltzer 

Within the beer category, light lager has seen year-over-year share growth in 2023, up from 18 percent in 2022 to 20 percent in 2023. Not only that, light lager has surpassed hard seltzer as Drizly’s top-selling beer subcategory as hard seltzer’s share declined year-over-year from 18 percent in 2022 to 17 percent in 2023.

“Hard seltzer growth has been slowing in the past year after exponential growth from 2019 through 2021,” says Paquette. “With more options and competition in the canned and portable drinks category, some consumers may be shifting their hard seltzer consumption to other categories like light lager and RTDs.” 

Drizly’s leading light lager brands over the last 12 months include Bud Light, Coors, Miller, Michelob, and Corona. The category’s top five SKUs are all reduced-calorie beers: Bud Light, Coors Light, Miller Lite, Michelob Ultra, and Corona Light.

‘Trading Up’ for Spirits Will Level Off

While the overall average unit price on Drizly is up nearly three percent year-to-date in 2023 compared to same time period last year, the spirits category did not follow the growth trend. Meanwhile, both beer and wine have seen year-over-year increases in average unit price. With this in mind, retailers may want to stock more mid-level and value-priced spirits options this spring.

“Liquor, which previously led the ‘trading-up’ trend we’ve seen in recent years, has dropped two percent in average unit price year-over-year,” says Paquette. “This is potentially a result of the current economic situation causing consumers to be more conscientious of their spending.” 

Because the liquor category carries the highest average price on Drizly, she adds, “It may be a reason why this is the first category to see a year-over-year decline in average unit price.”

The 2022 Q4 SipSource report confirms that spirits premiumization leveled off in calendar year 2022. “While tequila and bourbon over the $50 price point are both up 18.8 percent and 16.8 percent, respectively,” says Stratton, “the overall spirits category priced over $25 is only up 0.2 percent.”

Stratton points to inflation as one of the primary drivers behind the trend. “We know from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that price increases on wine and spirits have lagged those for beer and non-alcoholic beverages,” he says, “which may help those categories going forward.”