The ultimate resource for alcohol beverage news, trends and reports for bars, distributors and suppliers.

The Ultimate Summer Beverage Trend Report

  • by: Maggie Mahar
  • On: 16, Sep 2019
59 min read

Ahhh. Sweet, sweet summer. A time when patios are packed with patrons. When bars are filled, five-people deep. When liquor has a tendency to go down a little quicker. No doubt Summer 2019 has had its fair share of ups and downs. From the growth of spiked seltzer to the decline of a certain summery spirit, we’ve witnessed a wave of trends. And we plan on riding out that wave all the way till summers’ end. (Fall is just 6 days away, people!)

In the meantime, we’d like to take a moment to highlight the rise and fall of summers’ many beverage trends. We here at Provi are data-hungry. We live it. We breathe it. And now we want to share some of it with you. In this report, we analyze on-premise summer beverage trends during the months of June, July and August, with data being pulled from our Provi users in Colorado, Georgia and Illinois. 

Our hope? The results will help inform you of the current market landscape and incorporate upcoming trends into your beverage program.



product type popularity:

Between June and August of 2019, market share for beer, wine and spirits took a surprising turn. You’d think with hard seltzer’s skyrocketing success that the beer segment’s share of the market would have grown substantially over the summer months. Think again. Beer market share topped out at 38.5% this summer, which is a -7.67% decrease when compared to last summer’s share of 41.7%. 

The big winner this summer: spirits. The spirit category finished out Summer 2019 with 47.3% share of the market, which is a 8.74% increase from last years share of 43.5%. Perhaps the rise of the canned cocktail is to blame. You have to admit, ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktails are more than just convenient. And in recent years, brands have really upped their game, rolling out RTD cans with higher-quality ingredients, shedding its once low-quality image. 

Meanwhile, wine saw no change in growth from last summer to this summer with 14.2% share of the market. What are the odds of that?



feel the summer spirit:

Now let’s take a look at how the spirit category fared over the summer months. Taking the top spot in market share is vodka at 28.82%. However, if there is one thing you should know, it’s that numbers can be deceiving. 

The summer-y spirit was down -10.99% from last year’s market share of 32.38%. Yikes. 

Coming in second place this year is (unsurprisingly) Tequila, with a market share of 22.89%. Compared to last year’s share of 21.81%, the spirit  grew by 4.95%. Thanks to a rising star in the category, more people were apt to order tequila this summer than last. (But we’ll touch more on that later).

Taking the third place spot is Whiskey, with a market share of 20.38%. If there is one thing we’ve learned this summer, it’s that a lot of spirit categories were down from last year. And whiskey is no exception. The category declined -1.92% from last summer’s share of 20.78%. 

Consider brandy this summer’s success story. This year, the category held 2.24% of summer spirit market share, compared to last year’s share of 1.56%. That’s a 43.6% spike in market share from one summer to the next! 

Take a minute to really let this information sink in. We'll wait.





round two:

Let’s break the spirit category down even further, just because we can. One subcategory that saw exponential growth was Mezcal, despite tequila’s overall decline in market share. This summer Mezcal held 1.32% of the spirits’ overall market share, which is a 26% jump from last year’s 1.05%. In recent years, the highly praised spirit has been breaking into the American cocktail scene, emerging as a tasty tequila alternative. And these numbers only support that fact. 

Another tasty tequila alternative? Joven. This year the subcategory held .88% of market share, compared to last year’s share of .52%. That’s a 70% jump from last summer.

American whiskey also saw growth from last summer, with a market share of 2.97%. Last summer the subcategory held just 2.68% of spirits’ market share. That means the category grew by 11%! Think the Japanese whiskey crisis has anything to do with that?

Not every subcategory was as lucky. Take Blanco tequila, for instance. While it may have been one of the top market share holders at 15.52%, the subcategory was actually down 6% from last summer’s share of 16.58%.





To beer or not to beer:

Now let’s dive into what you’ve all been (secretly) waiting for: beer subcategory growth. If this summer has taught us ANYTHING, it’s that spiked and sparkling beverages are not going anywhere in 2019. And it’s no surprise that this summer has been dominated by all things bubbly. In fact, hard seltzers held 2% of market share this summer, and grew by a whopping 527% from summer 2018! Wow. Take a minute to really think about that. I had to double check my math at least four times.

Last summer hard seltzers weren’t nearly as trendy, which makes this uptick in popularity even more fascinating. We’re really curious to see how this trend plays out through the coming fall and winter seasons. I for one, wouldn’t mind cracking open a cold peppermint seltzer come Christmastime. Alas, I digress.

While the beer category saw a decline in overall market share, there were several subcategories that saw significant growth, especially when compared to last summer. Take IPA for example. Last summer, the subcategory topped out at 9.99% share of the beer category, versus this summer’s 11.55%. That’s a 16% increase!

Light beer still holds the most market share at 26.06%, but declined by 8% when compared to last summer’s 28.21% share. Funny enough, Light beer lost a little over 2 percentage points from last summer to this summer— (the same market share as Hard Seltzer. Hmmm...)




Baby got craft:

The beer segment has never been MORE saturated with craft options. But despite that, overall craft market share of the beer category held steady at 45%; the same as last summer. And, because we like you so much, we’re gonna break the regional craft segment down EVEN further.

Let’s start with Chicago. Revolution Brewing Company topped the local craft segment, with 24.67% share of Chicago’s craft beer market from June to August. However, when comparing this summer’s data to Summer 2018, only one brewery stands out for its explosive growth. Hopewell Brewing. Hopewell increased its share of the local craft beer market by a whopping 679% from Summer 2018 to Summer 2019 and currently holds 3.20% share of the segment. 

Turning to Georgia, we see Creature Comforts taking the top spot in the craft beer segment, holding a market share of 33.14%. Last summer, during the same time period, Creature Comforts held just 10.26% of market share Georgia’s craft beer segment. That's a growth of 223% from last summer to this summer, making it the fastest growing local craft brand in Georgia (Wow!)   

Lastly, let’s take a look at Colorado. Left Hand Brewing takes the lead, with local craft market share at 20.62%. The brewery also saw significant growth from last summer to this summer, with a 30% increase in share but it wasn’t the fastest growing brand in the local craft segment. From Summer 2018 to Summer 2019, Ratio Beerworks exploded in growth with an increase in local market share of 425% ending this summer with 11.54% of the segment.




pour decisions:

Moving on to wine subcategory market share, (because wine not), we see chardonnay holding the top spot at 9.96%. Compared to last year’s 7.96% share, the summer-y libation saw a 25% increase! Not bad.

This summer’s red wine of choice was undoubtedly Cabernet Sauvignon. By the end of August, the subcategory held the second-highest market share at 9.91%, showing 13.65% growth from last year’s share of 8.72%.

Following closely behind, we see sparkling wine with 9.87% market share. Last year, sparkling wine held just 8.91% share, which means it grew 11.78% from one summer to the next.


So, there you have it folks. This summer was a wild one, and if it weren’t for the ridiculous growth of hard seltzers, i’m not totally sure where we’d be right now. 

Aside from the obvious, there were some other winners that saw their success quietly in the shadows of White Claw. Regional breweries such as Left Hand and Ratio Beerworks in Colorado, saw major growth from this summer to last. (Huge congrats to both!) 

And as for spirit subcategories, compared to last summer, brandy won by a long shot-- seeing compound yearly growth rate at 43.6%! All other categories saw a decline from last summer. When it came to wine, chardonnay was the most popular subcategory overall. For red wine, cabernet was a top choice.

As we reach summers’ end, we look back fondly on all of this season’s beverage trends, and look forward to what next year brings. What do you predict will become of hard seltzer? What do you foresee as a major trend this fall? We want to hear from you! Let us know in the comments below.



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