Though the temperatures rose predictably across the country in Q2, many of the most popular new products released this season diverged from traditional spring and early summer trends. Rather than seeing a profusion of new rosé wines and light beers, the most popular new products of April, May, and June tapped into fresh trends like year-round gifting and special collaborations more commonly seen during the holiday season. 

“Both special edition releases, as well as value-added packs which include accessories, are becoming more important inventory items year-round as ‘just because’ gifting continues to see growth, particularly in the e-commerce channel,” explains Liz Paquette, Drizly’s head of consumer insights, noting three of the top new products this quarter included accessories. 

Lemon-specific flavorings likewise saw a boost, making up 20 percent of the most popular new products on Drizly, indicating consumers are choosing traditional summertime flavors this season – a shift compared to recent trends towards novel combinations. 

“Wine SKUs are notably absent from the top new releases list this quarter,” says Paquette, noting that FRE Red Blend, an alcohol-free wine, and Zero Gravity I’m a Radio IPA were the only beer and wine SKUs on the list. “While we saw new vintages of existing products see success, we did not see many new products make the top 20 this quarter, which is somewhat surprising given the innovation happening particularly in the canned wine and ‘light’ wine space.” 

Conversely, hard seltzer proved that it isn’t going anywhere, taking the top spot among new releases. “This data suggests that despite slowed growth in terms of share for the category overall, consumers are still apt to try new innovations in the category,” says Paquette.

Spirits Special Editions Show Year-Round Staying Power

Special edition spirits are proving their year-round staying power, holding seven of the top 20 most popular new liquor products. These new, limited-release spirits fall within the most popular spirits categories on Drizly overall, vodka and whiskey, indicating that consumers are most eager to try spin-offs within their preferred categories.

Absolut released two of the most popular new products with its America Edition and Vodka with Zing Zang Bloody Mary Mix. CIROC Passion, a passion fruit flavored vodka, also made the list within the vodka category.

Popular new special edition whiskeys fell into the bourbon and American whiskey subcategories, with Jack Daniels taking two spots with their Bonded Tennessee Whiskey and Triple Mash Blended Straight Whiskey products. Basil Hayden Subtle Smoke Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey and Blanton’s Gold Edition Bourbon likewise proved popular in Q2. 

Lemon Flavors Dominate Popular New Releases

While citrus flavors are typically popular during the summer months, it is interesting to see how lemon in particular has really taken hold of the most popular releases this past quarter,” says Paquette of the four lemon-flavored SKUs on the top new products list.

All four products come from established brands with strong nationwide distribution: High Noon Lemon Vodka Hard Seltzer, White Claw Refresher Lemonade Variety Pack, Simply Spiked Lemonade Variety Pack, and Smirnoff Seltzer Neon Lemonades Mix Pack.

“I think the popularity and growth of the ‘hard lemonade’ category last summer with releases like Truly Hard Seltzer Lemonade, brands like High Noon, White Claw, and the new Simply Spiked – a partnership between Molson Coors and Coca-Cola – were released to compete within the category,” says Paquette. 

Value-Added-Packs Gain Steam

Value-added-packs (VAPs), which include a product and accessories, accounted for three of the top 20 most popular new products this quarter. Though traditionally popular during the holiday season, changing gifting patterns among consumers lend these releases renewed year-round appeal. 

The most popular releases were Crown Royal’s Fine De Luxe Blended Canadian Whisky, 750-Milliliter Bottle with Two Signature Shot Glasses, Don Julio Blanco Tequila with Guacamole Bowl – the second most popular product of the quarter – and Casamigos Blanco Tequila Gift Set with Margarita Glass. 

“Consumers are often looking for something that feels ‘unique’ or ‘special’ when it comes to gift-giving so these product extensions from well-known brands are well-positioned to drive gift sales,” says Paquette. 

Celebrity Collaborations Expand into New Categories

The second quarter also saw more celebrity-endorsed products appeal to fans, indicating that consumers remain eager to try new products backed by popular figures. The top new celebrity-owned releases on Drizly were within the spirits category this quarter, with one tequila and one whiskey making the list.

“Tequila has become a mainstay for celebrity releases,” says Paquette, noting the success of Kevin Hart’s Gran Coramino Cristalino Reposado Tequila suggests there is still room within the category. “Whiskey is a new category for retailers to watch for celebrity releases to pick up steam with Mercer + Prince Blended Canadian Whisky by A$AP Rocky making the top 20 list this quarter.”