Drizly’s top 6 predictions for the BevAlc industry in 2020

March 04, 2020


Rosé. Juicy IPAs. Mezcal. Some trends come out of nowhere, others are a little bit easier to predict. 2019 was the year of hard seltzer, yet it would’ve been near impossible to predict its meteoric rise. While we can’t fully predict the future (we’ll let you know when we figure that one out), we can give you some insight behind what we’re seeing moving in the market. Here’s a take on our top 6 predictions for the BevAlc space in 2020.

Hard seltzer is here to stay

In 2019, hard seltzers took over the beer/seltzer/cider category, accounting for a majority of sales in the category on Drizly for the first time ever over the July 4th holiday. 

Hard seltzer has since maintained the top spot on Drizly on a monthly basis, besting even light lager for highest category share (hard seltzer = 18.15%, lager = 18.01%).

In terms of overall YTD (through 2019):

– Seltzer (+9.75%)

– Lager (-3.55%)

– IPA (-1.05%)

– Cider (-.85%)

Even more interesting? The rise of White Claw in particular. In 2018, hard seltzer made up a nominal percentage of sales (4.75% of share), with White Claw and BON & VIV each sitting at 1.46% of category share. In 2019, these numbers took off: 

– White Claw sales grew by 577% YTD (up to 7% of total category share)

– Truly grew by 213%

– BON & VIV grew by 23%

Looking ahead to 2020, we predict slow and steady growth for hard seltzer in the early months and likely another boom during the summer. Simply put, this sub-category is here to stay.

Cans will take over shelf space

Cans play into two macro consumer trends: convenience and discovery. Cans are lighter, more durable, easier to transport and are allowed in more places, compared to glass bottles. They also allow for greater discovery and tasting, providing consumers the ability to experiment with new brands or varietals without committing to a full bottle.

We foresee more brands offering canned versions of their products in 2020, from wine to cocktails/Ready to Drink beverages (RTDs) and beyond. In the past, this space was largely defined by inexpensive, mass-market producers, but the craft beer movement opened a lot of eyes to the prospect of drinking premium alcoholic beverages from cans, and we’re now seeing this trend expand into other categories.

“Healthy alternatives” will continue their ascent

Consumers, especially millennials and 21+ Gen Zs, are giving more thought to what they’re putting into their bodies, whether being more aware of what they consume with alcohol or cutting alcohol out entirely. In 2020, we can expect to see more demand for beers, wines and spirits with up to half of the alcohol-by-volume (ABV) of traditional products.

Additionally, we predict that alcoholic beverages enhanced with health-beneficial ingredients will gain momentum nationwide. CBD-infused beverages will be among them, with almost a third of independent retailers on Drizly believing they will meaningfully grow their sales. 

Out with the old, in with the new

Once reserved for loyal fans and only available in limited markets, many self-identified craft beer brands are now easily found at any airport or stadium in the US. That increase in availability may have taken away from the “craft” notion that these brands were built on, as Dos Equis, Goose Island, Magic Hat, Pabst, Shock Top, Strongbow and Shock Top continued share decline in 2019.

Clase Azul is the big winner in independent brands. Their sales grew nearly 150% YoY, and they are currently the #2 selling independent brand on Drizly. A few other independent brands we see trending are Gerard Berttrand (+140% YoY), Wolffer Estate (+60% YoY), Heaven Hill (+110% YoY) and Mighty Squirrel (+230% YoY).

While we can expect bourbon and red wine to dominate the industry again in 2020, niche categories like Aguardiente, Soju, Sake, Orange Wine and Ginjo will rise in popularity.

A shift in the value of brands

Overall, name brands alone don’t get you as far as they used to across categories. When it comes to premium bottles to gift, people are increasingly shifting to newer options vs. the older luxury brands. Johnnie Walker, Lagavulin, The Yamazaki, Perrier-Jouet, Oban, Armand De Brignac, Talisker and more, had less growth on Drizly in 2019, compared to younger brands.

Instagram-powered, “awareness brands” backed by high profile celebrities – Aviation (Ryan Reynolds), Casamigos (George Clooney), Cîroc (Diddy), Proper 12 (Conor McGregor) – however, have had big runs in recent years and will continue to grow in popularity in 2020.

Online alcohol sales will continue their increase

In today’s digital world, consumers are getting more accustomed to easy access to a wide selection, convenience and immediacy that e-commerce offers, and that includes alcohol. Drizly sales have increased year over year and we expect that to accelerate in 2020. While still a small portion of the overall alcohol industry, in just 5 years we expect to see 10% of all alcohol sales happening online.

Interested in becoming a Drizly Retail Partner to access more information on BevAlc trends? Email blaine@joindrizly.com or fill out this easy form and a member of our sales team will be in touch soon.

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