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Off-Premise Update: Wine And Spirits Slip On Tough Comps, But Premiumization Continues

May 3, 2021

When restaurants and bars were forced to shut down this time last year due to the pandemic, the lockdowns resulted in an off-premise boom for all alcoholic beverages. For the 52-week period ending December 27, spirits volume surged 19.4% in IRI channels, while wine rose 10%. While off-premise numbers remain elevated, they’ve begun to run into tough year-on-year comparisons in the past few weeks. As a result, spirits volume declined 3% in IRI channels for the 12-week period ending April 18, while wine fell 9%. By comparison, malt-based beverage volumes—including beer, seltzer and cider—inched ahead 2% year-to-date in IRI channels, ahead of their key summer selling season.

Tito’s vodka remains by far the largest-selling brand in IRI channels by value in the latest 12-week period, followed by Jack Daniel’s Tennessee whiskey. But among the 20 largest-selling spirits off-premise, the fastest-growing brands in dollar terms were all priced above $25 a 750-ml.—Crown Royal Peach (+64%), Patrón (+28%), and Hennessy VS (+12%). And excluding the small but burgeoning spirits-based seltzer category, the two fastest-growing sectors over the past 12 weeks in IRI channels both had average retail pricing of above $20 a 750-ml: Tequila (+17% in dollar terms) and Cognac (+20%). Hennessy, driving much of the growth in the Cognac category, became the largest-selling brandy in the U.S. for the first time ever in 2020, according to Impact Databank.

In the wine segment, Gallo-owned Barefoot Cellars continues to lead all brands in IRI channels by both volume and value, but the fastest-growing labels year-to-date among the top 25 were all priced above $10 a 750-ml.—Josh Cellars, Stella Rosa, 19 Crimes, Meiomi, La Crema, and Decoy. Bottled table wine retail-priced above $20 a 750-ml. was the fastest-growing segment (+22.5% in dollar terms), followed by those priced between $11 and $20, which rose 6% year-to-date. Meanwhile, labels priced below $11 fell 8% by value and 12% in volume terms.

Off-premise, sparkling brands (+26%) bucked the wine industry’s decline year-to-date, primarily due to Prosecco (+30% in dollar terms), driven by La Marca. Moët Hennessy’s Veuve Clicquot leads all sparkling wines in value terms, including the on-premise sector. Among the 15 largest-selling sparkling wine brands in IRI channels, Clicquot was the fastest-growing label year-to-date—up 59% by value and 55% in volume terms.—Juan Banaag

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