Welcome to the latest (spookiest?) edition of microtrends! Here, we look at how developing big-picture trends in beer, wine and spirits will play out over the next four weeks.
And right now, we’re sliding into the holidays — even if it still feels like fall has barely landed.
Below, we forecast what should be on your radar this Halloween, up through mid-November. Let’s get to it.
Microtrend 1: Halloween whiskey
Our data shows that whiskey consistently tops Halloween-week sales (in dollars and volumes). Generally, mid-range American bourbon (Jim Beam, Jack Daniels) and accessible Irish whisky (Jameson) move most.
But we’re also tracking a larger end-of-year trend toward luxury ($50+) spirits — which grew 125% from 2015-2020 and jumped another 25% in the first half of 2021. American and Japanese whiskies are driving a lot of that growth.
Microtrend 2: Hard seltzer innovations
The hard seltzer bubble is deflating: Boston Beer saw Truly sales hit lower than expected. Molson Coors killed Coors Light Seltzer. Constellation Brands is looking at low earnings from Corona Hard Seltzer.
But this slowdown probably isn’t the death of “beyond beer.” The drinking base that likes hard seltzers is into drinkable, light and familiar-ish innovations — which is exactly what the beer world is leaning into.
- Sierra Nevada is expanding beyond its hard kombucha line to introduce an “upscale lifestyle hard tea brand“
- Topo Chico is planning a margarita variety pack for its hard seltzer product
- AB InBev is expanding the Bud Light brand to shift it from “the light beer to the light brand” with seltzer and zero-carb beer
Microtrend 3: New Belgium’s Voodoo Ranger
I know, we don’t usually talk about specific products in our microtrends posts. But this exception is worth it!
Voodoo Ranger, a range of generally high-ABV IPAs from New Belgium, has had a strong year. VinePair reported on their huge success in February of this year, when they had 10% of the top 30 off-premise SKUs in craft beer, had become the second-best selling beer brand behind Blue Moon and were the top-selling IPA.
They never cooled off, thanks in part to a new engaged audience: Gamers. They’re leaning into it with a new IPA in partnership with a game release.
Bonus: The beer is adorned with a skeletal mascot, making it an on-theme choice heading into Halloween.
That’s all! We’ll see you in mid-November with your crunch-time microtrends. ‘Til then!