When summer sizzles in New York and Boston, city-dwellers flock to the Hamptons on Long Island and Cape Cod in Massachusetts for weekend relief and fun in the sun. Visitors to these top summertime destinations embrace the al fresco life, sipping drinks on sandy beaches and vacation home patios. This annual influx of out-of-towners has a significant impact on the markets’ beverage alcohol sales, from the categories people purchase to the most sought-after brands and SKUs. 

By exploring Drizly data for these summer vacation markets — including the Hamptons, Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket — from Memorial Day through Labor Day, retailers in summer weekend havens can refine their stock-up strategies for the upcoming season. 

Liquor Is a Best Seller

Order share on Drizly for vacation markets skews slightly higher on summer weekends than New York City or Boston, suggesting that weekend visitors are stocking up on arrival.  

Liquor was a bestseller last summer, ranking No. 1 in total share of Drizly sales in the Hamptons and No. 2 in Cape Cod. Across markets, whiskey, vodka, and tequila were the most popular liquor subcategories, and vodka over-indexed in weekend destinations compared to New York City and Boston. Whiskey took the largest share of sales in the Hamptons with 29 percent, while vodka ranked No. 1 in Cape Cod with 28 percent. 

“Overall on Drizly, vodka tends to see share gains during the summer months as consumers tend to lean toward lighter liquors,” says Liz Paquette, Drizly’s head of consumer insights. “This appears to be the case even more so in vacation and weekend destinations.”  

Tequila — a staple ingredient for mixing summer margaritas — has been another big seller in summer weekend destinations.

“We’ve always had to stock up on our tequila, and mezcal has been a fast-growing new category for us in the past couple years,” confirms Lisa Schock, the wine buyer and manager at Park Place Wines & Liquors in East Hampton, New York. The store’s most sought-after tequila brands, she says, are Clase Azul Reposado, Casa Dragones, and Don Julio 1942.

On Drizly, the five best-selling spirits brands last summer were identical across weekend destination markets, with Tito’s vodka in the lead, followed by tequila brand Casamigos. 

Drizly’s Best-Selling Liquor Brands, Summer 2021

1. Tito’s
2. Casamigos
3. High Noon
4. Clase Azul
5. Johnnie Walker

In Cape Cod, Nantucket distillery Triple Eight was also one of the summer’s top brands, suggesting that summer visitors actively seek out local products. This is true not only for spirits, but across beverage categories.

“We see brands like Wölffer winery in the Hamptons and Cisco brewery in Nantucket move up the list of top brands during the summer months in their respective markets,” says Paquette. “They likely benefit from out-of-towners eager to try these brands, or who have visited their vineyard, brewery, or distillery.”

Ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktails were also popular in weekend destinations last summer, over-indexing compared to nearby city markets — likely due to their lightweight, portable packaging. 

“We saw gains for ‘on-the-go’ product categories that are well-suited to the beach,” says Paquette, including RTDs, hard seltzer, and hard iced tea. 

Lighter Wines Were Winners

Wine is a popular choice among summer crowds across markets. The category accounted for 46 percent of total Drizly sales in the Hamptons last summer, and 52 percent of share in Cape Cod. 

Consumers in vacation markets were especially drawn to lighter, summer-friendly subcategories, including Champagne and sparkling wine and rosé. Compared to New York City in 2021, the Hamptons over-indexed on white wine and rosé during the summer period, while Cape Cod over-indexed on bubbles and rosé compared to Boston in 2021 overall.  

“Last year Champagne spiked more than we’ve ever seen,” notes Schock. “We don’t know if it had to do with people coming out of the Covid haze, and just celebrating and feeling happy, but we’re anticipating that it will keep going.”

On Drizly, Veuve Clicquot was the top-selling wine brand across vacation markets, while Josh Cellars ranked third. Also in the top 10 were Moët & Chandon, Chateau d’Esclans, La Marca, and Barefoot. One notable difference in the Hamptons was the No. 2 ranking of local rosé producer Wölffer Estate.

Drizly’s Best-Selling Wine Brands in Cape Cod, Summer 2021

1. Veuve Clicquot
2. Moet & Chandon
3. Josh Cellars
4. Chateau d’Esclans
5. La Marca
6. Cloudy Bay
7. Whitehaven
8. Laurent-Perrier
9. Caymus
10. Barefoot

Drizly’s Best-Selling Wine Brands in the Hamptons, Summer 2021

1. Veuve Clicquot
2. Wölffer Estate 
3. Josh Cellars
4. Chateau d’Esclans
5. La Marca
6. Cavit
7. Barefoot
8. Kim Crawford
9. Moet & Chandon
10. Santa Margherita

Hard Seltzer Rules

With its crisp, refreshing profile and portable packaging, hard seltzer was a go-to across summer weekend destinations, accounting for 25 percent share of the beer category in the Hamptons and 30 percent share in Cape Cod. American-style lager and light lager were also top sellers in the beer category.

Both the Hamptons and Cape Cod over-indexed on hard seltzer, light lager, and hard iced tea compared to nearby city markets in 2021 — reflecting the summer trend toward on-the-go drinks. 

Across summer destination markets, White Claw was the No. 1 beer brand on Drizly. Also among the 10 best-selling brands were Corona, Bud Light, Truly Hard Seltzer, Michelob, and Coors. 

Local brands also did well in their respective markets. In the Hamptons, Montauk Brewing Co. took the No. 5 position while Loverboy, a hard iced tea brand created by a cast member from the Hamptons-based reality TV show Summer House took No. 13. Likewise, in Cape Cod, Nantucket-based Cisco Brewers ranked third among the market’s top 10 beer brands.