Tis the season for getting cozy, and Drizly data indicates that this winter will see consumers cuddling up around their favorite traditional beverages — especially as inflation cools. Meanwhile, trendy non-alcoholic options are also likely to see major gains, even beyond Dry January and wellness-oriented New Year’s resolutions. 

“Non-alcoholic products are becoming more and more of a favorite year-round, especially for casual socializing like for gatherings around TV and sports, making things like football season a sales opportunity for these products,” says Liz Paquette, Drizly’s head of consumer insights.

In a continuation of last year’s trends, BevAlc Insights also anticipates that the impact of inflation will continue to slow, spurring consumer spending on alcoholic beverages. In 2023, the average unit price of products sold on Drizly was up slightly, compared to 2022 — the data suggests will continue even as consumers seek out deals. 

“Inflation in general is under control as far as the Federal Reserve is concerned, and general food and beverage numbers are not skewed too far from the CPI averages,” says Jon Berg, the VP of beverage alcohol thought leadership at NielsenIQ, adding that the higher costs of on-premise beverage consumption may drive even more consumers to celebrate at home. 

Read on to discover how these trends and more will impact the drinks industry this season, and how well-stocked retailers can gain. 

Non-Alcoholic Alternatives Will Appeal 

“NA products are expected to continue to flourish,” says Berg. “Currently the perfect storm of moderation in alcohol consumption, the need for product authenticity, and consumers wanting to fit into their social groups, all conspire for a positive outlook on NA.” 

Berg’s thoughts are corroborated by Drizly data, which suggests NA is the category to watch right now. The NA category saw 62 percent growth in share on Drizly in 2023 over 2022, led by NA spirits, which expanded by 167 percent share year-over-year. While NA beer, wine, and spirits all grew significantly in 2023, it’s likely that NA mocktails and RTDs will drive category sales this season.

Especially as Dry January and wellness-focused resolutions take off in early 2024, BevAlc Insights predicts this growth to spike to new levels.

Lesser-Known Wines Will Step into the Spotlight as Generational Shifts Take Hold

Red wine is a traditional favorite during cold winter months, and that trend is likely to remain into 2024 — though generational shifts and emerging preferences will change which red wines drinkers lean toward. 

“Increasingly, the U.S. is becoming a two-pronged wine market, where less-engaged, more price-sensitive, and often older consumers are reducing their activity or leaving the category altogether, and more engaged, regular, typically younger adult consumers exert an ever-greater influence,” says Adam Rogers, a research director with IWSR Drinks Market Analysis. “While the most engaged Gen X and millennial consumers make up just under 30 percent of total regular U.S. wine drinkers, they account for nearly 60 percent of the total wine spend.” 

Many of these younger consumers are branching away from traditional domestic wines, such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir, and instead choosing alternative grape varieties — especially those from Italy. In 2023 to-date, share of Italian wine has grown on Drizly to 14 percent share compared to 13 percent in the year prior. Among the fastest growing wine varieties on the platform year-to-date are Sagrantino, Brunello, and Corvina. The best-selling Italian wine grape by far is Pinot Grigio, which accounts for 60 percent share followed by Nebbiolo, Montepulciano, and Sangiovese — but the share of all of those has all remained flat year-over-year. 

According to Paquette, taking advantage of these trends means stocking both traditional and novel wines: “While there have not been major shifts in terms of best-selling varieties — which dominate wine sales on Drizly, adding more unique varieties and bottles in trending categories, like Italian red wines, offers opportunity for retailers to differentiate their inventories online.” 

Core Beer Will Make a Comeback 

While beer share overall has been down slightly in 2023 compared to 2022, BevAlc Insights predicts classic suds will make a comeback in 2024 as consumers return to traditional styles versus alternatives like hard seltzer, which have dominated in recent years. This fall, core beer — which excludes hard seltzer — has already begun to see year-over-year gains, growing from 11.8 percent to 12 percent share of total sales on Drizly. 

These early gains exist across beer subcategories, indicating the possibility of a wider trend:  Light lager share is up from 18 percent share during October to December 2022 to 19.5 percent share this year; American style lager and dry stout have also seen similar gains. 

Though beer share is typically at its lowest during December and January, it’s likely that categories like lager, stout, and seasonal beer will continue to drive sales this season as consumers reach for full-bodied beverages as temperatures dip.

The Super Bowl Will Drive Seasonal Sales

While the Super Bowl is always a significant winter sales occasion on Drizly, BevAlc Insights believes the impact could be even bigger this year. Ratings for in-season games have hit record highs this season, showing increased consumer interest in the NFL coupled with reported preferences for gathering at home rather than at bars and restaurants. In tandem, these trends suggest Super Bowl LVIII will have a major impact on off-premise beverage sales. 

Last year, Drizly sales spiked 39 percent on game day compared to the previous four Sundays. Mirroring larger trends on Drizly, liquor was the top-selling category for the 2023 Super Bowl, gaining two percentage points in share from the 2022 Super Bowl, while wine and beer both decreased one percent share. 

Within the spirits category on Drizly, reposado tequila experienced a 25 percent growth in share for the 2023 Super Bowl compared to the 2022 Super Bowl, while RTDs experienced 52 percent growth in share over the 2023 Super Bowl compared to the 2022 Super Bowl — suggesting these categories are likely to see additional spikes. 

Within the beer category — a traditional leader during sports events — American-Style lager experienced a 18 percent growth in share for the 2023 Super Bowl compared to the 2022 Super Bowl on Drizly, whereas IPAs experienced a 11 percent decrease in share.