Exclusive news and research on the wine, spirits and beer business

IRI Update: Premium Wine, Spirits-Based Cocktails Continue To Climb

July 2, 2021

For the fourth consecutive month, retail sales of spirits were down in IRI channels compared to the same time periods last year, which were at the height of the pandemic lockdown period. Spirits volumes decreased 3.3% during the 4-week period ending June 13 year-on-year, while IRI dollars fell 4.8% against the corresponding month last year, which was marked by a surge in off-premise buying as the on-premise shut down.

It’s important to note that IRI data for the past four months are still much higher than they were pre-pandemic. And in spite of the recent slowdown, one liquor segment in particular continues to thrive—spirits-based seltzers, due primarily to High Noon Sun Sips from E. & J. Gallo.

Total wine volume declined 9% in the year-to-date ending June 13 in IRI channels. However, premiumization continues as wines priced over $15 a 750-ml. rose 9% in volume terms, while those priced under $15 tumbled 13%. Table wine fell 11% by volume in IRI channels but the 19 Crimes and Meiomi brands bucked the trend with double-digit gains. Sparkling wine sustained its momentum year-to-date, registering a 15% retail dollar gain, with both Prosecco and Champagne performing well.

Beer continues to fall in IRI channels, declining 6% by volume year-to-date, as the industry enters its peak selling season. Craft beer remains soft, and hard seltzer has decelerated somewhat but is still posting strong double-digit gains. Boston Beer’s Truly seltzer stayed on fire year-to-date (+59%), but top brand White Claw from Mark Anthony eked out just a 0.3% volume gain, as more new entries from both big brewers and craft players saturate the market.—Juan Banaag

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