Insights from the Most Popular New Beverage Products in Q1 2023
Echoing trends from last year as this time, whiskey, tequila, and hard seltzer innovations dominated the most popular new products on Drizly from January to March
The most popular new products released on Drizly in the first quarter of 2023 put traditional springtime vibes front and center. Fruity flavors and beverages designed for on-the-go consumption topped the charts. Over 50 percent of the most popular products showcase flavor innovations or single-serve packaging – with many boasting both – suggesting consumers are ready to head out with their seasonal favorites in tow.
“The majority of this list mirrored similarities to the 2022 Q1 new product list, including hard seltzer new releases, gins, tequila, and limited-edition bourbons,” says Drizly head of consumer insights Liz Paquette, suggesting consumers are reaching for classics in 2023.
Despite shaky economic sentiment, the list covers the price spectrum. “This list runs the gamut of price points from super-premium products like Don Julio Rosado Tequila Reposado and Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon, to lower-priced products in the beer and hard seltzer category,” says Paquette. “This suggests that consumers are still purchasing throughout price points, particularly in the spirits category.”
The BevAlc Insights team analyzed the trends behind this season’s 20 most popular new products, gleaning insights for retailers from coast to coast.
Fruity Flavors Claim the Spotlight
Over 30 percent of the top new products showcased innovative flavors, ranging from Bailey’s Vanilla Mint Shake Irish Cream Irish Cream Liqueur to Proper No. Twelve Apple. Fruity and floral flavors were the most popular, indicating consumers are gravitating toward familiar flavors.
“It is typical to see an uptick in fruity flavors as we head towards the summer months,” says Paquette. “Retailers should keep an eye on newer flavors that consumers appear to be gravitating toward this season including peach, honey melon and pomegranate.”
Notably, flavored releases spanned categories including beer, ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktails, hard seltzers, and spirits. Popular new spirits products included Hendrick’s Flora Adora gin, Ciroc limited-edition Honey Melon vodka, and White Claw Spirits Black Cherry Flavored vodka. Among beers and seltzers, the Voodoo Ranger Fruit Force IPA, White Claw Hard Seltzer Peach, and Downeast Cider Pomegranate releases topped the charts.
The Tequila Craze Can’t Be Tamed
Tequila continued to build on its red-hot popularity this quarter with two standout new releases. The High Noon Tequila Seltzer Variety Pack was the most popular new release this quarter, followed immediately by Don Julio Rosado Tequila Reposado.
“Tequila continued to show up in a big way in this quarter’s top releases,” says Paquette, noting both products put a unique spin on traditional tequila.
The Don Julio Rosado Reposado tequila, for instance, uses ruby port casks for aging to impart fruity tones – capitalizing on another spring trend – and to add an appealing pink hue to the beverage. Similarly, High Noon’s foray into tequila offers consumers a twist on RTDs from a trusted brand.
Specialty Whiskeys Remain a Standard
As a single category, whiskey had the highest number of products on this quarter’s top 20 listing, with six new products making the cut. Predominantly leaning towards bourbon, consumers are showing a nearly insatiable appetite for new whiskey products, particularly special and limited-edition bottlings.
This popularity is a continuation of 2022 trends, where whiskey began dominating popular new products. In Q4 2022, for example, specialty whiskeys made up a whopping 70 percent of the most popular new products. The most popular new whiskeys of Q1 2023 followed a similar trend, with new releases from legacy and upstart brands gaining traction among consumers.
The most popular new whiskeys in Q1 included Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon, Fireball Whiskey Ping-Pong Gift Set, Proper No. Twelve Apple, Garrison Brothers Boot Flask Straight Bourbon, Blanton’s Straight From The Barrel Bourbon, and Parker’s Heritage Double Barreled Bourbon Whiskey.
Hard Seltzer Leaders Move Into Spirits
The hard seltzer category has seen exponential growth in recent years, and this quarter marked a notable expansion for fan-favorite brand White Claw. This season, the brand expanded into traditional spirits, scoring two spots on the most popular new products list with its White Claw Spirits Vodka + Soda Variety Pack and Black Cherry Flavored Vodka.
“White Claw’s foray into the spirits category made its mark with their vodka and soda and black cherry-flavored vodka finding a place on the list,” says Paquette. “This suggests consumers are eager to try new products from this top-selling hard seltzer brand.”
The crossover from seltzer to spirits is a trend to watch. More commonly, the opposite occurs, with established spirits brands entering the RTD subcategory. However, the success of White Claw’s transition into traditional liquor production could lead other seltzer leaders to experiment with cross-category growth.