From coast to coast, people raised their glasses for toasts on New Year’s Eve 2021. Though celebrations, or lack thereof, continued to be defined by the pandemic, the holiday was once again Drizly’s top sales day of the year.

Sales data from New Year’s Eve highlights trends and buying insights that can help retailers better understand and prepare inventories to maximize return on investment in 2022.

Signs of Premiumization

Wine was the top selling category on Drizly for New Year’s Eve 2021 with a 49 percent share of sales, followed by liquor (39 percent share). Both gained one percentage point share compared to the previous year. Beer saw a one percent decline, to 10 percent share of sales.

Premiumization won out in some top categories. The average unit price in the Champagne and sparkling wine subcategory was $34.20 on New Year’s Eve 2021 (up 10 percent from NYE 2020). Tequila’s average unit price was $53.40 (up 13 percent), while red wine’s average unit price was $22.50 (up 15.4 percent).

It’s likely not the first time retailers have seen premiumization, and it won’t be the last. The alcohol industry’s pandemic recovery will reach pre-pandemic levels by 2023, according to IWSR, with significant help from e-commerce, which grew 45 percent globally from 2019 to 2020. And people are trading up across alcohol categories: IWSR predicts a more than 25 percent increase in total sales volume of premium wine and spirits between 2020 and 2025, compared to a 0.8 percent volume growth for lower price tiers.

Sparkling Wine Wins Again

Champagne and sparkling wine stood out with a 64 percent share of sales in the wine category, holding steady over last year. Champagne took the lion’s share of those sales with a 69 percent share of the subcategory (the same as New Year’s Eve 2020).

Prosecco was another bubbly people turned to, though it saw a slight drop compared to last year (13 percent subcategory share versus a 15 percent share in 2020). Sparkling rosé wine gained one percentage point year-over-year to reach a nine percent subcategory share in 2021.

The red wine subcategory held a 19 percent of the wine category share (compared to 20 percent in 2020), and white wine had an 11 percent share (compared to 10 percent in 2020).

The top five wine brands on New Year’s Eve 2021 were the same as in 2020. The other half of the top 10 saw movement, with Perrier-Jouët moving up three positions, Chandon moving up one position, Josh Cellars dropping two positions, and Mionetto dropping three positions. Luc Belaire is the only new name on the list, while Barefoot fell from the top 10 compared to last year.

Drizly’s Top-Selling Wine Brands, New Year’s Eve 2021

  1. Veuve Clicquot
  2. Moët & Chandon
  3. La Marca
  4. Dom Perignon
  5. Korbel
  6. Perrier-Jouët
  7. Chandon
  8. Josh Cellars
  9. Luc Belaire
  10. Mionetto

Concerns about a Champagne shortage didn’t impact sales this year. Still, demand for Champagne is growing at greater pace than available supply, says Brittany Castaneda, brand director of Champagne and sparkling wines at Pernod Ricard USA.

“The continued consumer demand for supply is very exciting to see, but given supply challenges, we’ll see some inventory constraints,” says Castaneda. “Thankfully, 2018 and 2019 produced favorable yields in Champagne, and the wines from those vintages are the base for Perrier-Jouët’s upcoming non-vintage releases.”

Preparing for Valentine’s Day and Beyond

New Year’s Eve sales data can be useful for planning for the months ahead. The list of the top-selling sparkling wines on New Year’s Eve typically has a lot in common with those on the following Valentine’s Day, for example.

There’s one notable exception: “Sparkling rosés tend to perform even better on Valentine’s Day versus New Years Eve,” says Liz Paquette, Drizly’s head of consumer insights.

Drizly’s Top-Selling Wine Brands, New Year’s Eve 2020 vs. Valentine’s Day 2021

  1. Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow Label Champagne vs. Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow Label Champagne
  2. Moët & Chandon Impérial Brut Champagne vs. La Marca Prosecco
  3. La Marca Prosecco vs. Moët & Chandon Impérial Brut Champagne
  4. Dom Pérignon Vintage Champagne vs. Veuve Clicquot Rosé Champagne
  5. Korbel Brut California Champagne vs. Dom Pérignon Vintage Champagne
  6. Mionetto Prosecco Brut Sparkling White Wine vs. Mionetto Prosecco Brut Sparkling White Wine
  7. Veuve Clicquot Rosé Champagne vs. Korbel Brut California Champagne
  8. Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Gift Box Champagne vs. Moët & Chandon Impérial Rosé Champagne
  9. Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Reserve Exclusive vs. Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Gift Box Champagne
  10. Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut Champagne vs. Mumm Napa Brut Prestige Sparkling Wine

Winners Outside of Sparkling Wine

The New Year’s Eve story for the liquor category is similar to the trends seen throughout 2021. The whiskey subcategory led with a 33 percent share of sales in the overall liquor category on New Year’s Eve, though that’s down slightly from 36 percent in 2020. For the first time, the tequila subcategory had the second highest share at 21 percent (compared to 18 percent).

Vodka followed with an 18 percent share (the same as last year), then liqueurs, cordials, and schnapps at eight percent (compared to nine percent). Ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktails rose to a four percent share (compared to three percent). The rise in the latter subcategory suggests pre-mixed cocktails, versus home bartending, were more popular in 2021 than 2020. It also reflects the continued rise in RTDs; IWSR lists the rapid growth of RTDs as one of the momentum drivers that will return alcohol sales to pre-pandemic levels.

Drizly’s Top-Selling Spirits Brands, New Year’s Eve 2021

  1. Tito’s
  2. Casamigos
  3. Clase Azul
  4. Don Julio
  5. Hennessy
  6. Johnnie Walker
  7. Jack Daniel’s
  8. The Macallan
  9. Jameson
  10. Grey Goose

Reports over the past couple of years show that the interest in tequila isn’t a seasonal or holiday blip, but rather something to continue to watch. IWSR estimates that, between 2019 and 2024, the category’s compound annual growth rate will be about 15 percent.

On Drizly, reposado tequila has seen consistent share gains (25 percent share of overall tequila in 2019 versus 30 percent share in 2021), and New Year’s Eve was no different. Reposado took a 28 percent share of the tequila subcategory on the holiday in 2021 versus 23 percent on New Year’s Eve 2020. Silver/blanco tequila, in comparison, dropped to 49 percent share from 55 percent.

Looking Ahead to 2022

In addition to stocking the brands that sold most on New Year’s Eve, it’s also important to note the fastest growing brands when thinking about how the day’s sales can help prepare going into 2022.

Across categories, a mix of upstarts and classics were among the fastest growing brands on New Year’s Eve 2021. This shows that treasured regions like Napa with storied brands like Dominus and environmentally-minded brands like Cakebread Cellars are just as relevant. The same can be said for liquor, where you’ll find Appleton alongside High Noon and Buzzball, and beer, where Vizzy and Press Spiked Seltzer join Samuel Adams.

Drizly’s Fastest-Growing Wine Brands, New Year’s Eve 2021 vs. 2020

  1. Antinori
  2. Unshackled
  3. Wolffer Estate
  4. Dominus
  5. Cakebread Cellars
  6. Caymus
  7. Terrazas de los Andes
  8. Far Niente
  9. Cooper & Thief
  10. Dassai

Drizly’s Fastest-Growing Spirits Brands, New Year’s Eve 2021 vs. 2020

  1. E.H. Taylor, Jr
  2. Widow Jane
  3. Buzzballz
  4. Appleton
  5. High Noon
  6. Gran Centenario
  7. Clase Azul
  8. Ron Zacapa
  9. The Yamazaki
  10. Highland Park

Drizly’s Fastest-Growing Beer Brands, New Year’s Eve 2021 vs. 2020

  1. Vizzy
  2. Peroni
  3. Mike’s Harder
  4. Athletic Brewing Company
  5. Samuel Adams
  6. Maine Beer Company
  7. Press Spiked Seltzer
  8. Cape May Brewing Co
  9. 3 Floyds Brewing
  10. Pacifico

For Champagne, meeting consumers where they are will help boost sales of bubbly beyond the end-of-year holidays and into Valentine’s Day.

“Taking advantage of this momentum and offering value added packaging or gifting solutions will increase desirability,” says Castaneda. “It is also critical to utilize educational tools on e-commerce platforms such as high-quality visuals, tasting notes, food pairing inspiration, and videos. You want to meet the consumer where they are by satisfying their need for information, as the Champagne and sparkling category is diverse and sometimes intimidating.”