The alcoholic beverage industry is not particularly known for being stagnant. Significant changes and surprising trends emerge every year, and 2023 is no exception.
The alcohol industry is not without its challenges. To better understand where things currently stand in the alcoholic beverage industry for this year, we’ve highlighted some of the stats and trends you need to take note of.
Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at some of the more interesting developments, starting with the more general trends impacting sales.
1. The alcoholic beverage industry is not slowing down just yet
With more and more people becoming health-conscious, alcoholic drinks are increasingly being dropped. You probably have at least a few friends or family members who have pulled back on their alcohol consumption lately or perhaps have even tried to stop it altogether.
It’s obviously up to the individuals to decide what they want to do about their alcohol consumption moving forward. Still, it is worth noting that the industry is not being impacted just yet by folks who are opting for drinking less.
Via FoodBev Media, the alcoholic beverage market is expected to grow at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of over 4 percent over the next six years. Things can change, and the expected growth rate could shrink, but the outlook for the industry continues to be positive for now.
2. Selling alcohol online is becoming more popular
The idea that alcoholic drinks can be purchased online and delivered to your doorstep may seem foreign to many. Still, industry insiders already know that those things are becoming common.
More recent numbers about the popularity of online sales of alcoholic beverages have yet to be made available. Still, it wasn’t too long ago when online alcohol sales reached $1.7 billion. More specifically, the online sales numbers got there back in 2017, per Grocery Dive.
It’s not hard to imagine the numbers growing even larger since then.
Companies such as Drizly and Thirstie are already starting to reap huge rewards from selling alcohol online. The market is flooded with even more options in the near future would hardly be a surprise.
3. Whisky is becoming an increasingly popular alcoholic beverage
Whisky is already the drink of choice for many fans of alcoholic beverages all over the country. Prized for its distinct flavor that brings together some remarkably sweet notes, earthy tastes, and even hints of spice, whisky is a staple of many household liquor cabinets.
And it figures to stay that way for the foreseeable future.
Statista says revenues in the United States whisky sector are $18.126 million this year. As impressive as that is, the numbers could grow even larger in the coming years.
By 2023, whisky-related revenues could spill over $20 million.
It is also important to point out that whisky is popular, not just in the United States. Sales of the spirit are also remarkably high in other corners of the globe, with India standing out as one of the more voracious consumers of the aforementioned liquor.
4. The best-selling cocktail of 2019 so far is the Old Fashioned
Considering the popularity of whisky, it should be no surprise that the top-selling cocktail of the year at this point prominently features the aforementioned spirit.
According to Drinks International, the Old Fashioned cocktail is the best seller and is sold in 30 percent of bars. This is also nothing new.
The Old Fashioned has remained the cocktail of choice for many alcohol lovers for quite some time now. Drinks International even points out that this is the fifth year in a row in which the aforementioned cocktail has emerged as the top seller.
Putting together the conventional kind of the Old Fashioned cocktail involves mixing sugars and some bitters. Whisky is then often poured into the mixture, although there are some instances wherein brandy may be used as a substitute.
As a finishing flourish, bartenders may add some citrus rind to the cocktail to give it a hint of freshness and acidity.
5. Sake is no longer just a popular drink in Japan
Whisky is not the only alcoholic beverage making waves in terms of sales. In recent years, a popular alcoholic drink from Asia is also showing that it has fans all over the world.
The drink in question is none other than Japanese sake. According to Nippon.com, overseas sales of rice wine went over ¥22.2 billion in 2018. That translates to just a little under $205 million.
The site also noted that 2018 was the first year international sales of Japanese sake surpassed the ¥20 billion mark.
So, who are the biggest fans of sake outside of Japan? As it turns out, the folks in the United States can’t get enough of it. Americans accounted for about 30 percent of sake’s international sales last year.
Residents of Asian nations have long known about the merits of sake, and it seems like people from other parts of the globe are wising up to them too.
6. High-end spirits remain highly coveted
Due in large part to the pervasive nature of the internet, you can learn just about anything regarding almost every possible field of interest. If you’re into alcoholic drinks in particular and you want to know the best options available, you can quickly look them up online.
Perhaps because of that easy access to information, more people are now aware of high-end spirits and are willing to spend on those sought-after products.
Per the Brindiamo Group, sales of the “super-premium” and “high-end premium” spirits rose by 6 and 7 percent in 2018. It’s good that more people know about those premium products, although their fans may want to stock up just in case the demand gets too high.
7. Craft beer is no longer just a niche offering
Getting that first taste of craft beer can be a transformative experience. After settling down with the mass-produced beers that flood the marketplace, trying out something different can suddenly awaken the alcohol connoisseur in you.
Craft beer has done that for many people, so it should not be surprising that the beverage has become immensely popular.
Per Austria Juice, craft beer sales in 2018 rose by 5 percent. On top of that, around 8,000 craft breweries are expected to operate in the United States by the end of this year. In 2007, the number of craft breweries stood at just over 1,511.
The popularity of craft beer has reached the point where even the larger players in the alcoholic beverage industry are expected to get in on the action at some point. Whether or not they will succeed in producing craft beer is another matter altogether.
8. Ready-to-drink alcoholic beverages are not going away anytime soon
You can’t read up on the latest goings-on inside the alcoholic beverage industry without hearing about the increasing popularity of ready-to-drink (RTD) options. Notably, these RTD alcoholic beverages have been around for a long time, but it seems as though they are gaining popularity right now.
To give you a better idea of just how popular alcoholic RTD beverages have become, Nielsen notes that the sales of malt-based cocktail variants have grown by 597 percent compared to last year. Not to be outdone, hard seltzer RTDs are at 193 percent, while the canned wine options are at 77.5 percent.
If you’ve noticed that these RTD alcoholic beverages have become more prevalent, there’s a good reason for that. As it turns out, plenty of people like them.
9. Wine is going beyond the bottle
When you think of wine, you probably conjure up this image of red or white wine flowing forth from an elegant-looking bottle as the luscious drink is poured into a glass. That’s a classic image, but there’s a decent chance you may be drinking wine from a can sometime soon.
Going back to Nielsen, the data firm points out that there are now 22 wine brands that offer their products in cans. As many as 386 wine options can now be sipped from a can.
Wine lovers have also not shied away from the canned variants as sales figures have skyrocketed to $81 million after finishing at $46 million last year.
Drinking wine from a can could be a more common practice.