THE CRAFT

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

What to Expect: Thanksgiving Eve Beverage Trends

  • by: Maggie Mahar
  • On: 19, Nov 2020
23 min read

Thanksgiving is upon us, and consequently, so is Thanksgiving Eve (otherwise affectionately known as Black Wednesday). Granted, this year’s celebrations may be different. Because, let’s be honest, everything about this year has been different. But different doesn’t always mean bad. Sometimes it means rolling with the punches and turning lemons into an enticing vodka lemonade to-go (local laws permitting). 

We took a look at last year’s data on what was moving in hopes it will help you make more informed decisions on what to purchase this year. The report highlights what segments and styles saw the highest growth in volume sales from November 10th to November 23rd.

So, without further adieu, let’s dive right into the data!

Beverage Trends by Product Type


Around Thanksgiving last year, bars, restaurants and retailers alike stocked up on beer. So much so, that it saw the highest increase in volume sales during the two week period from November 10th to November 23rd. Coming in second place? Spirits, which saw a 16% increase in sales, not far behind from wine at 15%. We’ll break down each of these product types below.


The Buzz on Beer Trends

 

It comes as no surprise that Beer sales increased around Thanksgiving last year. But what types of beer styles were bar managers purchasing? According to our data, Stouts saw a 376% increase in volume sales—one of the highest increases when compared to other styles. This makes sense, given that patrons tend to gravitate towards darker and dryer styles come wintertime—think Guinness or Goose Island Bourbon County Stout. Following Stouts, we see Fruit/Vegetable beer, which saw a 74% increase in volume sales. Consider that your pumpkin-loving patrons may be more apt to gravitate towards this style come fall/winter. German Hefeweizen, Golden/Blonde Ale and Premium Lager styles also saw respective increases in volume sales around Thanksgiving last year

 

 

So, you know what beer styles were popular, but do you know what container types were most sought after? Last year around Thanksgiving, bottles saw a 24% increase in volume sales, closely followed by kegs at 23%. Cans, on the other hand, saw just a 16% increase. Why might this be important to know? During a time when patrons are more aware of health and safety, they might gravitate towards bottled or canned beer this year, as opposed to a glass of draft beer. This is something to consider as you plan out your beverage purchases for Thanksgiving.


Spirits Sales Soared

 

Taking a look at some of the most popular categories from around this time last year, we see Gin coming out on top with a 22% increase in volume sales. Safe to say, bar managers must have been prepping to sling out G&T’s until the wee hours of the morning. Next up? Whiskey, of course. Although we're surprised it didn't make the top spot on this list. Increasing in volume sales by 18%, this category continues to be a wintertime mainstay in the spirits segment. Not far behind were tequila and vodka, showing a lift in volume sales by 15% and 14%, respectively.

 


Wine Trends

 

 

Now, let’s dive into the data on all things wine-related. When thinking of fall or winter-forward vino flavors, typically red comes to mind first. Such was not the case last year for wine buyers across the country.  White wine had the highest lift in volume sales, at 19%. This was followed closely behind by Rose at 18%. Sparkling, Red and dessert wine also respective increases in volume sales.

 

Conclusion

If you've learned anything from this report, we hope it's that you have a better idea of what to expect going into Thanksgiving Eve this year. Maybe that means stocking up on more beer, canned, or bottled items. Maybe that means looking into different stouts to add to your beverage program. All this to say, while looking at data may give you an objective view, it can certainly be used to predict demand. By following beverage trends and patterns, you can better understand your customers and your business. Not to mention, it can help with your bottom line. Cheers to another Thanksgiving Eve!

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