While fruity flavors inspired by warmer days ahead tend to dominate new product launches in Q1, the most popular new products of Q1 2022 put versatility at the forefront. This season, nearly all of the popular new product launches on Drizly featured single-serve formats and canned offerings ideal for gatherings on the go.

The popular new products of Q1 show a marked shift over consumption habits from 2021, particularly in the beer and wine segments where innovation is disrupting seasonal norms and longstanding new product trends. Within the beer category, hard seltzer virtually disappeared from the top new products list after making up the entire list in Q1 of 2021 – only Bud Light’s Hard Soda Seltzer Variety Pack was a popular new release this season. Wine saw a similar shift, with three of the top five spots in 2022 going to canned wine cocktails that compete directly with popular ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktails and seltzers. 

In advance of warmer weather and outdoor gatherings, BevAlc Insights examined Drizly sales data to highlight the top product launches in Q1 of 2022 and what they indicate about current consumer trends.

Generational Trends Are Brewing in Beer

New beer launches in Q1 centered on innovation, with novel products like Bud Light Next and Flying Embers Bubbly Brut Nature Hard Kombucha topping the popular new products list. Bud Light Next, which is directly marketed toward Gen Z as the first “zero-carb” beer, shows that innovation in the beer space will likely be a major trend going forward. 

“[Gen Z] consumers have shown interest in ‘better for you’ options across beverage alcohol, specifically in beer, which is driving the growth of alternative beer categories like hard seltzer and hard kombucha,” explains Liz Paquette, Drizly’s head of consumer insights. “Further, this generation is also particularly interested in trying new things – likely driving interest in this new innovation.”

This season, only one popular new product – Voodoo Ranger Juice Force IPA – represented a traditional beer category. This is the second year in a row where innovation led beer category product launches in Q1, though the new products in 2022 span a range of styles while 2021’s new launches were all in the hard seltzer space. 

“With so much change happening in the beer alternatives segment, retailers should keep a close eye on new products and brands in this space and pay attention to what is driving sales,” says Paquette, noting that core beer SKUs still make up 75 percent of beer share of Drizly.

New Wines Aim to Compete Directly with RTDs

The most popular new wine products this season weren’t the rosé releases that often dominate the early spring. Instead, perhaps taking the lead from established spirits brands and popular RTDs, major brands released celebrity collaboration bottlings and wines in single-serve cans. 

Three of the five top new products – Sutter Home’s Sweet Tea, Peach with Lemon, and Lemonade wine cocktails – take direct aim at the demand for cocktail-esque beverages that are easy to consume on the go. “Wine-based RTDs, seen in the Sutter Home innovation, are positioned to compete directly with ready-to-drink alternatives which are on the rise in the beer and liquor categories,” says Paquette. She adds that the shift to single-serve wines is the biggest change in wine trends over 2021, when the top five wines were all standard, 750-milliliter offerings.

19 Crimes released its Martha Stewart Chardonnay in tandem with the lifestyle expert, continuing its successful reputation with celebrity-endorsed bottlings, while Wölffer Estate’s Summer in a Bottle Provence Rosé represented the lone rosé to make the top five new wine products listing this quarter.

Liquor Underscores Existing Trends

Unlike the beer and wine categories, the new liquor products released this quarter compound existing spirits trends and support traditional seasonal shifts.

“The key trends we see across the liquor category are reflected with the products that topped this list,” says Paquette. “This includes ready-to-drink innovation, with new brands like NUTRL and existing brands such as Crown Royal entering the space, plus ongoing premiumization within the tequila category.” 

The NUTRL Hard Seltzer Variety Pack and Crown Royal Whisky Lemonade Cocktail add to competition in the still-hot RTD subcategory. NUTRL in particular, which is vodka-based, may be a brand to watch, as it is a direct competitor to High Noon – historically the most popular RTD brand across Drizly purchasers.

One new tequila, Avión Reserva Cristalino Añejo Tequila, landed in the top new products list, representing ongoing consumer and brand interest in premium aged tequilas. The average unit price of tequila has risen five percent year-over-year, a $2 per-product average increase, driven by the growth of aged offerings like añejo and reposado tequilas.

Both Jameson and Smirnoff released new spring flavors, with Jameson’s Orange Irish Whiskey and Smirnoff Peach Lemonade Vodka launching – both of which support the traditional spirits trend of releasing citrus flavors in Q1.