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

Heading Into The Fall Season, Retail Channel Sales Remain Elevated Above 2019 Levels

September 24, 2021

Total spirits consumption in the U.S. is expected to increase 2.5% this year, to depletions of over 261 million 9-liter cases, according to Impact Databank, while the wine market is projected to decrease 0.5% to 335 million cases, its first projected decline after 27 consecutive annual gains. Including low-proof spirits-based RTDs, the distilled spirits market in the U.S. surpassed the beer industry in dollar terms last year for the first time in nearly half a century, according to Impact Databank.

As beverage alcohol retailers grapple with tough comparisons against last year’s pandemic-driven surge, industry dollars and case volumes continued to soften in IRI channels through the year-to-date period ending on Labor Day, although they remain elevated compared with 2019. Spirits eked out a 1.7% gain in the 12 weeks ending September 5 against last year, while wine continued to lose share, falling 11%. Beer was down 7% in volume terms year-on-year, while hard seltzers were up only 3.3%—top-ranked White Claw fell 11%—and other flavored malt beverages (FMBs) declined 0.7%.

However, when compared to pre-pandemic levels, the alcoholic beverage industry is faring well against year-to-date trends from two years ago. Spirits were up 27% in volume terms versus the same 12-week period in 2019, while wine was up 4.6%, according to IRI. Beer volumes have fallen 2% compared to two years ago, while FMBs (including malt-based seltzers) are up a whopping 66% versus 2019 levels. Total beverage alcohol rose 5.8% by volume compared with the same 12-week period in 2019.—Juan Banaag

Beverage Alcohol Volume In IRI Channels By Category
(millions of gallons)
12 Weeks Ending
Category 9/8/2019 9/6/2020 9/5/2021
Beer 803.1 847.8 788.2
Cider/FMBs1 84.9 145.1 147.0
Wine2 73.0 85.6 76.3
Spirits2 22.9 28.6 29.1
Total IRI 983.9 1,107.1 1,040.7
1 includes malt-based seltzer
2 includes low-proof RTDs
Sources: IRI and IMPACT DATABANK © 2021
Subscribe to Shanken News Daily’s Email Newsletter, delivered to your inbox each morning.

Get your first look at 2020 data and 2021 projections for the wine and spirits industries. Order your 2021 Impact Databank Reports. Click here.

Previous :  Next :