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Retailers Take Stock As 2021 Winds Down

December 30, 2021

The lasting effects of the pandemic on the beverage alcohol retail tier zoomed into sharp focus in 2021 with strong in-store sales buoyed by bustling online, mobile, and home delivery platforms. “Overall, 2021 sales are up 25% compared to 2019,” says Gary Fisch, CEO and founder of New Jersey-based Gary’s Wine & Marketplace. “The reason for our sustained growth over 2019 is our online business, discovered by thousands of new customers who hadn’t yet heard of Gary’s.”

That solid performance came amid a number of unforeseen hurdles this past year. The alcohol industry faced supply chain delays, labor losses, and shortages of raw materials—particularly glass. “Due to these delays, we bought deep in certain product categories, such as Champagne, expecting stockouts throughout the holiday season,” Fisch says.

Despite those industry-wide obstacles, San Francisco-based Wine.com saw significant consumer adoption of e-commerce and mobile sales in 2021, with its business nearly doubling pre-pandemic numbers. “Like many in the industry, the uncertainty of the global supply chain created challenges for consistency in many key import categories,” says Wine.com founder Michael Osborne.

Supply chain difficulties notwithstanding, imported and California wines spearheaded Wine.com’s 2021 growth. The online retailer’s largest selling wines by revenue this year were Dom Pérignon ($200 a 750-ml.), Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Brut ($60), Caymus Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($90), Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($85), and Caymus Special Selection Cabernet Sauvignon ($175). Market Watch has more on the retail landscape looking into 2022.—Kevin Barry

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