The most popular new products on Drizly during Q3 of 2021 suggest both consumers and brands are returning to traditional seasonal buying patterns. Moving into the last quarter of the year, seasonally inspired offerings from established and celebrity-endorsed brands across categories lead the way.

“We have seen typical seasonal shifts coming into play with flavor releases this quarter and fall around the corner,” says Liz Paquette, Drizly’s head of consumer insights, noting several of the top new products on Drizly this quarter offer classic autumn flavors like pumpkin. 

Innovative flavor twists were a theme across categories with brands in the ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktail, hard seltzer, liquor, and beer segments releasing alternatives to their established flavor profiles. Basil Hayden, Casamigos, and Calirosa all introduced spirits aged in alternative oak barrels, for instance, introducing a slight twist on their classically crafted offerings. Similarly, hard seltzer giant Truly released their Lemonade Variety Pack as freezer pops, an alternative format for popular existing flavors. 

Celebrity-Owned and Endorsed Spirits Brands Continue to Climb

Across the liquor category, Q3 saw a mix of new product releases and extensions from top brands. Agave-based spirits dominated the top releases this quarter, making up three of Drizly’s top five new liquor products, including mezcal giant Del Maguey’s higher-proof, 45% ABV Vida de Muertos Mezcal.

Both top-ranking tequila releases this quarter utilize alternative aging methods in used wine barrels: Don Julio’s Primavera Reposado, aged in used orange wine barrels to yield a silky, smooth finish, according to the brand; and Calirosa’s new Rosa Blanco Tequila, released by Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine, aged in used California red wine barrels, lending fruity notes and a pink tinge to the finished tequila. 

Levine’s brand and Hennessy’s newly launched V.S. x FAITH XLVII Cognac — an anniversary release produced in collaboration with acclaimed South African artist FAITH XLVII — add to the growing trend of celebrity spirits collaborations. “This is an ongoing trend of celebrity-owned releases that we’ve seen in recent years, particularly in hot categories like tequila and rosé,” explains Paquette. 

Basil Hayden’s Toast Bourbon Whiskey, the only whiskey among Drizly’s top new spirits releases, also capitalizes on alternative oak aging. Matured in lightly toasted barrels, this new release offers consumers a whiskey with less spice and more prominent sweet caramel notes.

Established Hard Seltzer Brands Take the Lead

In the hard seltzer segment, new products from major brands dominated releases in Q3, with releases from the “big three” of Bud Light, Truly, and White Claw topping the Drizly charts. 

Bud Light Seltzer’s Flannel Variety Pack — which features fall-themed flavors including pumpkin spice — was the most popular new product, followed by Truly’s Lemonade Freezer Pop Variety Pack and the White Claw Surge Variety Pack. 

“We have seen a mix of new releases from both the big three and craft brands over the past year,” says Paquette. “However, given that all of the new releases that have been top sellers in Q3 are from the category leaders, consumers may be sticking to the brands they know and trust, even while they are interested in trying new flavors.”

Paquette also points out that even among other hard seltzer brands, those that are most popular come with strong marketing and distribution support from parent brands. “The majority of top-sellers hard seltzer SKUs [this quarter] were from the big three plus Corona, though newer brands including Topo Chico, CACTI, and Lone River made the list. However, all three have backing of larger brands,” she says, noting Topo Chico’s mineral water products and backing from CocaCola, and Lone River’s backing by beverage giant Diageo.  

RTD Innovations Abound

“One trend that is continuing to play out this year is the innovation in the RTD category,” says Paquette of new releases in the booming category. More liquor brands like Deep Eddy and Nantucket Craft are entering the space, and existing RTD brands are testing new cocktail flavors from Piña Coladas to cranberry martinis.”

During Q3, Cutwater — the second most popular RTD brand on Drizly in 2021 to date — introduced the most popular new product on Drizly in the category with the launch of their Piña Colada flavor. The Austin, Texas-based Deep Eddy Lemon Vodka Soda was the second-most popular new release.

Other new and notable releases in Q3 included Two Chicks Sparkling Cranberry Tartini, Nantucket Craft’s Ruby Grapefruit Soda, and the Monaco Classic Mai Tai. 

Seasonal Beer Releases Return

Breweries kicked off Q3 with seasonal beer releases, capitalizing on traditional fall flavors. The most popular releases on Drizly indicate consumers are likewise returning to seasonal beer trends in force, with successful product releases focused on classic autumn and Oktoberfest flavors. Sierra Nevada’s Oktoberfest release, a rich Märzen lager featuring German malts, took the top spot on Drizly for Q3 new releases in the beer category, followed by Elysian Brewing Company’s Night Owl Pumpkin Ale.