Insights from the Hottest New Products in Q4 2021
Alternative oak aging and premium releases were popular during the strong holiday sales season
The most popular new products on Drizly in Q4 showcased the year’s major trends – celebrity collaborations, the rise of agave spirits, and premiumization – while indicating potential new consumption trends for 2022.
“Overall, the top-selling new products released in Q4 aligned with seasonal trends in Q4, with whiskey leading the liquor category and Champagne topping the list for wine,” explains Liz Paquette, Drizly’s head of consumer insights.
Premium products dominated the popular new releases across categories, with the average unit price of the top five fastest-growing new liquor SKUs in Q4 coming in at $81 compared to $29 across the liquor category overall in 2021. In tandem with expanded celebrity-endorsed offerings, this data suggests consumers will likely continue to reach for more expensive, special-edition drinks in 2022.
Alternative Oak-Aged Spirits Dominate Popular New Releases
New releases from well-known brands were popular overall, with products within the Cognac, whiskey, and tequila categories topping the list. Hennessy’s latest release, the Hennessy V.S Limited Edition by Julien Colombier, was the top new liquor SKU on Drizly in Q4.
Overall, whiskey remained the top-selling liquor subcategory in Q4, holding 39 percent of category share. Both chart-topping new whiskey SKUs – Whistlepig’s Boss Hog VIII Lapulapu’s Rye Whiskey and The Macallan Harmony Collection Rich Cacao Single Malt Scotch Whiskey – are single-barrel offerings. The Boss Hog VIII sees double finishing in single-island Philippine rum cases, while the Harmony Collection Rich Cacao is crafted with the idea to highlight unique chocolate notes; both underscore ongoing single-barrel and alternative aging trends in the whiskey category.
The most popular new tequilas in Q4, the Patrón Sherry Cask Aged Añejo and the Tequila Komos Reposado Rosa Tequila, are also aged in alternative oak (sherry casks and California red wine barrels, respectively), indicating consumers are eager to experiment within favorite categories. Consumption of aged tequila offerings in particular expanded in Q4 with reposado and añejo offerings experiencing share gains of two and three percentage points in Q4, respectively.
“Though vodka is currently the second best-selling liquor category, share has been declining year-over-year while tequila share has seen strong growth,” says Paquette. “2022 has potential to be the year that tequila surpasses vodka as the second-best selling liquor category on Drizly.”
Gift Sets See Major Gains
“In 2021, we saw a shift towards year-round gifting on Drizly for everyday occasions like birthdays, promotions, and engagements versus just for the holiday season,” says Paquette. Gift orders on Drizly have grown steadily, holding 11 percent of order share year-round in 2021. During Q4, gift orders spiked to 20 percent, up from just nine percent in Q4 of 2019.
The Knob Creek Bourbon With Glasses Gift, Ciroc Vodka Gift Pack with Moschino 2 Shot Glasses, and Casamigos Blanco Tequila Gift Set with Coasters were the most popular new gift sets on Drizly in Q4, aligning with major liquor consumption trends.
“We suspect this trend will continue to grow in 2022, as awareness of the offering grows and gift sets offer a great opportunity for retailers to stand out to consumers looking for something special to send” says Paquette.
Celebrity Collaborations and Non-Alcoholic Releases Expand
Releases featuring celebrity collaborations and non-alcoholic SKUs made up the top new products within the wine category during Q4.
In accordance with traditional Q4 consumption trends, sparkling wines made up three of the top five most popular new products on Drizly. Dom Pérignon Lady Gaga Edition Champagne and Louis Roederer’s Collection 242 Champagne – two super-premium offerings – took the top two spots, while new entrant Töst was also popular with its Sparkling White Tea Non-Alcoholic Wine.
The Prisoner’s Saldo Zinfandel was the lone red wine on the list, while Luminara’s newly released Non-Alcoholic Chardonnay was the only non-sparkling white wine.
Beer and Hard Seltzer Brands Capitalize with Seasonal Favorites
“While hard seltzer remains a key sales driver and the top-selling beer subcategory, its growth had slowed over the past year and ‘core’ beer continues to account for the majority of sales in the category,” says Paquette.
New hard seltzer releases accounted for three of the five most popular new beer category SKUs in Q4, and all were variety packs. Bud Light’s Ugly Sweater variety pack was a new top product for the second year in a row – with three new flavors released in the 2021 edition. The popular fast food chain Sonic also released two variety packs – the Sonic Hard Seltzer Citrus Mix Pack and Sonic Hard Seltzer Tropical Mix Pack – featuring flavors from the restaurant chain.
Among core beer SKUs, which held 79 percent of beer category share in 2021, The Hazer Tag Hazy IPA and Goose Island Bourbon County 150th Anniversary Stout both made the top five, suggesting that most beer drinkers still reach for seasonal winter favorites in Q4. Paquette recommends that retailers “continue to stock a variety of both [beer and hard seltzer] categories while keeping an eye on new releases, particularly in the hard seltzer category.”