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NielsenIQ: Off-Premise Beverage Alcohol Trends Amid U.S. Recovery Phase

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September 1st – NielsenIQ’s beverage alcohol expert, Kaleigh Theriault, recently sat down with Joe Tarnowski from ECRM to discuss sales amid the COVID-19 “recovery” phase in the U.S. See below for the latest off premise beverage alcohol insights:

“For the remainder of 2021, we can expect a few key trends to stick. Firstly, the movement towards ready-to-drink cocktails will continue as sales surpassed summer 2020 sales off-premise, and also expanded into on premise channels. In addition, RTD sales are going to start gaining traction within on premise as consumers view these to be “safer” beverage options. The winter holidays will pose a prime opportunity for spirit and wine-based cocktails as additional buyers enter the segment and make repeat purchases. In addition, although e-commerce sales are starting to slow across segments, this will continue to be a highly important channel for the industry and online shoppers will continue to rely on the channel given its convenience, product comparison capabilities and seamlessness. Currently, 78% of searches on Amazon.com are unbranded, meaning today’s shoppers are searching for products based on individual needs (ie. low calorie, gluten-free, etc.) and retailers need to further develop their product descriptions and discoverability in order to cater to the growing segment of health-conscious consumers looking for personalization.” — NielsenIQ Client Manager, Kaleigh Theriault

Brick and Mortar

  • Off premise sales decreased -1.7% YTD vs. YTD 2020
  • Off premise sales have been declining since March 2021 (see slide attached)
  • Off premise sales increased 19% in 2020 vs. 2019
  • Off premise sales increased 18% YTD vs. 2019 YTD
    • Spirits: +32% 
    • Wine: +17% 
    • Beer/FMB/Cider: +14% 
    • Core Beer: +4% 
  • Ready-to-drink alcohol sales increased 14% YTD vs. 2020
  • Hard seltzer sales increased +18.7% YTD vs. YTD 2020 
  • Hard seltzer sales increased +287% YTD vs. YTD 2019
  • There was a 25% increase in the amount of hard seltzer buyers in the latest 52 weeks
  • Non-alcoholic beer, wine and spirits sales increased 35% YTD


  • Online beverage alcohol sales decreased -5.4% YTD vs. YTD 2020
    • Spirits: -6.2%
    • Wine: -8.7%
    • Beer: +7.5%
    • FMBs: +21%
  • Wine accounts for 65% of online alcohol dollar sales 

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