Heading Into The Fall Season, Retail Channel Sales Remain Elevated Above 2019 LevelsSeptember 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|
|1 includes malt-based seltzer
2 includes low-proof RTDs
Sources: IRI and IMPACT DATABANK © 2021