Insights From Drizly’s 20 Top-Selling Spirits
Analyzing data from liquor purchased in 2022 – and comparing it to pandemic-era trends – reveals what consumers are looking for in this top category
Spirits account for 45 percent of total sales on Drizly in 2022 to date. It’s the largest category sold on the platform, and it’s been on the rise over the past few years. In 2021, spirits held a 44 percent share, while in 2020 and 2019 the category held a 41 percent and 38 percent share, respectively.
To help brands and retailers navigate how to make the most of sales in the liquor category, we examined the top-selling products across Drizly’s nationwide marketplace in the first half of 2022. While a lot has changed over the past couple of years, macro trends are evident among the best-performing SKUs. Following the general trend toward premiumization, for example, the average price point of the top 20 spirits on Drizly has gone up from $31.60 in 2020 to $32.75 in 2022.
As you consider inventory decisions in the months ahead, here’s a deep dive into Drizly’s top-selling spirits—and what the data means for you.
Drizly’s 20 Top-Selling Spirits in 2022
- Tito’s Handmade Vodka
- Casamigos Blanco
- Clase Azul Reposado Tequila
- Jameson Irish Whiskey
- Grey Goose Vodka
- Maker’s Mark Bourbon Whisky
- Espolòn Tequila Blanco
- Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey
- Smirnoff No. 21 Vodka
- Bulleit Bourbon
- Ketel One Vodka
- Don Julio 1942
- Hennessy V.S Cognac
- Svedka Vodka
- Casamigos Reposado
- Patrón Silver Tequila
- High Noon Variety Pack
- Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
- Fireball Cinnamon Whisky
- Johnnie Walker Black Label Blended Scotch Whisky
The Top-Selling Spirits and Categories
Retailers can confidently continue investing in consumer favorites in the months ahead. Tito’s Vodka tops the list, as it did in 2019, 2020 and, 2021, while whiskey continues to be the dominant liquor subcategory.
Whiskey is the largest liquor subcategory on Drizly with a 35 percent share in 2022 to date. That’s followed by vodka (23 percent share), tequila (19 percent share), and ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktails (five percent share).
When it comes to overall Drizly share, these subcategories are also among the most prominent on Drizly. Spirits subcategories make up six of the top 10, led by vodka at number three (nine percent share on Drizly overall), bourbon at four (six percent share), blanco tequila at six (four percent share), Scotch whisky at seven (three percent share), hard seltzer at eight (three percent share), and reposado tequila at 10 (two percent share).
Tequila SKUs in particular overperform among the top 20 sellers. Seven of the top 20 are whiskey, while six are tequila, five are vodka, one is an RTD, and one is a brandy.
Tequila and RTDs have continued to make inroads into the top-selling spirits on Drizly since 2020. Clase Azul, for example, was the number 19 spirit in 2020, but it is the number three in 2022. The increased interest in reposado tequilas is also reflected, as Casamigos Reposado newly joins Clase Azul Reposado on the top 20 list compared to 2020. Tanqueray and Hendrick’s, the two gins that made it into the top 20 spirits in the first half of 2020, are both absent in 2022’s top 20 list.
RTDs are a new addition in the top-selling spirits SKUs compared to 2020, and High Noon leads the way. Other RTDs that didn’t crack the top 20 but are worth paying attention to are the High Noon Tropical Variety Pack and Cutwater Tequila Lime Margarita, which both fall within the top 100 spirits SKUs in 2022 to date.
Trends and Subcategories to Watch
“Several trends have driven growth of the spirits category over the past few years, including the rise of the tequila and ready-to-drink categories, as well as growth in at-home cocktail making and premiumization,” says Liz Paquette, Drizly’s head of consumer insights.
According to data from IWSR Drinks Market Analysis, tequila outsold both bourbon and rum by volume in 2020 for the first time. Tequila rose by more than 30 percent between 2015 and 2020, and then got a big boost during the pandemic in terms of dollar value of sales – market research company IRI reported an 11 percent increase in tequila sales by dollar amount from 2020 to 2021.
Liquor in IWSR’s premium-and-above price band of $22.50 grew in volume by more than 10 percent compound annual growth rate, according to Brandy Rand, chief strategy officer at IWSR Drinks Market Analysis. “Tequila is leading premiumization and is forecasted to become the most valuable spirits category in the U.S. by 2023,” adds Rand.
“During the height of Covid, people began crafting their own cocktails at home, and even two years later, the trend of making cocktails at home is still alive and well,” says Lorrie Piper, the director of sales, marketing, merchandising, and distribution at the New Hampshire Liquor Commission, which sees 12 million customers a year at its NH Liquor & Wine Outlets.
Piper says while premium products across multiple categories are on the rise, tequila and RTDs “continue to be the largest growth segment currently in our markets.” The trend toward higher priced options hasn’t slowed in Piper’s market despite the threat of inflation.
“We continue to see a trend toward premiumization and a desire to purchase and enjoy premium and ultra-premium products – including those that are exclusively available in our Outlets,” Piper says. “Premium products continue to demonstrate growth across product categories.”
Who Is Buying Spirits on Drizly?
Spirit sales are split 50-50 between men and women on Drizly. That’s compared to overall sales, which are 52 percent female and 48 percent male. Spirit purchases do, however, vary from generation to generation. Millennials over-index on whiskey, tequila, RTDs, and mezcal, while Gen Z over-indexes on soju, tequila, RTDs, and rum.
Both the Southeast (where liquor holds 54 percent of share) and the Southwest (where liquor holds 56 percent of share) over-index on spirits sales on Drizly year-to-date.
Younger generations are often on the edge of trends and are a good sign of what could prove successful in the months and years to come. Rand says that IWSR has noticed Gen Z consumers are paying more attention to premium categories like Japanese whisky, agave spirits, no- and low-alcohol brands, and natural and organic products “that fit with the better-for-you lifestyle that Gen Z audiences are increasingly embracing.”
“Millennials (aged 25 to 40), as the generation least affected by the pandemic’s restrictions, are driving alcohol consumption in the U.S.,” Rand adds. “These consumers tend to be more adventurous than older generations, and they tend to purchase more premium products.”
Looking ahead to the rest of the year, a mix of standby favorites in the top 20 liquor SKUs – from the likes of Tito’s and Casamigos – along with rising stars like reposado tequilas and RTDs could help boost sales.