2021 Summer Buying Patterns: Gifting Beer, Wine and Spirits

As we enter a second pandemic summer, new buying patterns are starting to emerge.

Those patterns aren’t necessarily showing up in the products they buy. People will still reach for warm weather staples like rosé, sour beers, Tequilas and hard seltzers.

Instead, we’re exploring the patterns around the purchases: the how and the why. Will they buy for themselves or for others? What formats and around which occasions will they buy?

Here’s what we’re seeing:


This is the #1 thing we’ve heard from beer, wine and spirits retailers recently: The rise of e-commerce and the isolation of lockdowns has created a huge rise in gifting.

To say congratulations or thinking of you, people will order items from retailers near a friend of family member.

And summer presents a number of good gifting occasions, especially as people are still emerging from their pandemic shells. Make note of holidays (Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, etc.) and potential milestones (graduations, weddings, new homes, etc.) that might drive gift sales.

Think about (and put marketing toward) products that make ideal gifts: Champagne and other sparkling wines, top-shelf whiskey or other spirits, favorite bottles of celebratory wine. Google Shopping ads are a good way for brands and retailers to get in front of people searching to send gifts. (Get in touch and we can get you started.)


The other side of the coin this summer is a return of gatherings. Cookouts and holiday celebrations, from Cinco de Mayo ’til Labor Day.

With vaccinations rolling out, more and more people will be comfortable gathering this summer. For those occasions, we predict that simplicity will continue to win out. Single-serve cans (of wines, beers, seltzers and cocktails) sold in packs may dominate ahead of summer weekends. These options offer drinkers a really easy way to provide variety for their guests.

Plus, the “long drink” trend is hitting big spirits brands. They are releasing slightly sweet, sometimes blended or flavored, versions of best-sellers made to be mixed. These cocktail-ready options bring simplicity to summer hangouts.

Summer buying patterns are vital for brands and retailers to track. Use these guidelines to market thoughtfully and proactively heading into summer.