Beer, Wine and Spirits Trend Rundown: No. 4 (4/15-5/15)

For our fourth microtrends rundown (the first of a new quarter), we’re digging into the meat of Spring and looking back at how we did in Q1.

First, our thoughts on the specific ways that big-picture beer, wine and spirits trends will play out in the next four weeks. (Read earlier editions here.) Then, catch our Q1 microtrends recap at the end of this post!

Trend 1: Tequila and Mezcal RTDs

Agave-based canned cocktails (sparkling tequilas, canned mezcal margaritas, agave seltzers, etc.) will rise to the top of the hot category.

Why? The perfect storm of trends:

  • May = Cinco de Mayo, when Tequila is on the minds of many drinkers.
  • Warm weather + ongoing pandemic = impromptu outdoor gatherings (rooftop drinks, park picnics) perfect for portable canned drinks

This is also generally a good time for Mexican lagers. So there’s a strong possibility that a brand like Corona Hard Seltzer could be swept up in this uptick toward Mexican-spirit-based RTDs.

Trend 2: Sour flavors

This is a “rising tide lifts all boats” sort of situation. Tequila and mezcal keep growing. Both pair most commonly with sour and tart flavors (like lemon, lime, grapefruit).

Brands are already leaning into these flavors with mixers: Haus (a DTC aperitif) just released their Grapefruit Jalapeño flavor, ready to be paired with Tequila or mezcal.

And tart/sour as a flavor profile tends to cross categories, pulling wine and cocktail drinkers toward craft beers and ciders. So we’re also monitoring the continued growth of sour beers and more acidic wines (like natural orange varieties) as this trend crests.

Trend 3: Canned rosé

No real surprise here: Spring = Rosé.

But this year, we’re especially interested in the packaging. Though things are different than last year at this time, there is still a safety element (and an adjustment period) keeping gatherings outside.

That means the best performing rosés this year may be single serve. Not surprisingly, that market is already flooding, led by AB InBev’s Babe. Other notable brands: Underwood Cellars, Bev, No Fine Print, and many more.

And, while Prosecco Rosé could may a big entrance this spring, it would hit with biggest impact in a can.

These microtrends can help you innovate and drive creative, thoughtful, effective marketing. Dig into our new digital marketing playbook for more ideas, or reach out to brainstorm together.

And now, see how we did with our microtrends in Q1

Q1 Microtrend Recap

The Big Wins:

Low-and-no products drive adjacencies and sales.

In January, we noted that no-and-low-alcohol options can drive significant adjacent sales. (People dig making cocktails, but don’t always want booze-bombs.) And in March, we started to see brands pick up on this, creating low-ABV spirits built for mixing lighter cocktails. This will continue, especially as we head into warmer seasons.

Blurring category lines.

Each month, we included predictions about the boom of RTDs, canned cocktails, hard lemonades and sparkling seltzers. And each month, the lines between all those products — and all the categories in which they live — kept getting hazier. This too will keep going until every category is represented on a shelf of canned, portable, light and bubbly bevs.

The Little Misses:

Prosecco Rosé hasn’t hit its stride yet.

The pandemic slowed down the movement of this new-to-market bubbly in the U.S. We’re still confident that it’s a good bet, if you can get your hands on it. But it’s popularity hasn’t popped quite yet.

Super-premium mezcal rush (from drinkers).

Mezcal and Tequila are still on top of the world. We predicted that ultra-premium mezcal would hit more baskets around St. Patrick’s Day, taking place of high-tariff Scotch. This happened much more quietly than we thought. Suppliers are still betting big on agave spirits (especially celebrity-backed varieties, fo which there are many). But drinkers haven’t turned from Tequila to premium mezcal in droves just yet.

See you back here in May, where we’ll start digging into Memorial Day and summertime sips.