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The Top Beverage Trends of 2021 Heading into Fall

The first half of 2021 is packed up, and we’re just getting ready to unpack the data! We analyzed hundreds of thousands of Provi transactions to understand how the first half of the year impacted beverage trends and what that could mean for the close of 2021.

We centered our data efforts on comparing sales from January - July 2021 to the same period last year, focusing on share change within brands and categories of product.

Let’s take a look at the data and see what numbers are doing some share shifting!

Spirits are High (and Getting Higher!)

Summer may be gone but we saw plenty of data to support those in the cocktail business. Spirits were growing off-premise but they also jumped up in the on-premise! Comparing sales in 2021 to the same period in 2020, the spirits category share rose by 9.1% points. They managed to grow by taking share from the beer and hard seltzer category at a rate of 4.5% points and from the wine category at a rate of 4.6% points.

Product Types Fueling the Spirits Fire

So what types of spirits are helping propel the category up the charts? Whiskey had a small gain of 0.4% points to remain at the top of the category and had a little help thanks to Tequila and Vodka losing steam with both dropping 2.4% points. Liqueur is also losing a little share, by dropping 1.2% points. But take a look at brandy! It catapulted into the fifth spot with a whopping 5.3% points gain!


Brand Names Leading the Spirits Charge

Remember a few lines up where we mentioned brandy stealing the spirits thunder? Well here we can see how. The cognacs Hennessy and D’usse combine for nearly 5% points gain in share gain to help brandy come out swinging in 2021. The perennial bar staple of the Jack and Coke grew 1.94% points and the Canadian rye Crown Royal was right behind at 1.75%. Ciroc takes the fifth spot at just under a half point share bump.



Light Beer and Low Calories Help the Beer & Seltzer Category

While the spirits category is seeing a boomlikely from the increased reopenings across several statesthe beer and seltzer category is staying afloat thanks to light beers and the “health conscious” varieties of hard seltzer and kombucha.


Bud Light, Stella Artois and Michelob Ultra hover near the top of most states for lighter beer, while High Noon crept into the top five of the category thanks to the strength of its low-cal and flavorful seltzers like Watermelon, Pineapple and Peach. 


Fall and Winter Predictions to Close out 2021

Prediction #1
You don’t need a crystal ball to understand that seasonal flavor profiles will shift away from summer-inspired flavors to fall/winter flavors. Expect less peach and more apple, fewer pineapples and far more pumpkins. Simple as that!

Prediction #2
Pre-mixed cocktails will continue to grow in the on-premise as retailers grapple with the reality of the delta variant and labor shortages. Businesses will be looking for efficient and sanitary ways to provide cocktails to their consumers and from our perspective, pre-mixed cocktails seem like the perfect solution to the matter.

Prediction #3
Even though the summer scene is going into hibernation for most parts of the country, don’t bet on seltzers and RTD cocktails going away just yet! We predict there will be some unique, holiday-inspired hard seltzers and pre-mixed cocktails launching in the next month or so. It's relatively seamless to spin up a new flavor offering from a supplier’s perspective and since the seltzer boom doesn’t appear to be going anywhere there’s a good chance that some limited edition and variety packs will be coming in the near future. Candy Cane seltzer, anyone?

Brent Gladney


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