What’s Ahead for OND: Beer, Wine and Spirits Microtrends No. 8 (8/15-9/15)

OND is on its way. October, November and December are the busiest months of the year for the liquor industry. August and September, on the other hand, are a bit slower.

Moving out of the summer and into the holiday season, we wanted to refocus this microtrends edition. This month, we’ll be focusing on four themes that we predict will dominate the holiday season. Next month, for September’s microtrends, we’ll look at specific products and categories within those themes.

Get ready for these themes to dominate OND:

OND Theme 1: Gift giving

We wrote about the rise of gifting earlier this year, and are expecting a significant return to that habit this holiday season. People are now comfortable purchasing alcohol online from local liquor retailers near friends and family who will deliver to them.

People are also buying on the more premium end, whether it’s to enjoy on their own or to gift during the holidays. We’ll dive more into products next month.

For now, if you have a DTC or store-delivery set up that caters to gifting, capitalize on the trend with digital marketing that speaks to gift giving.

OND Theme 2: Varied gatherings

Last year, gatherings were few and far between. This year, they are more accepted but still feel like a risk to some. A consumer survey from Drizly found that 42% of people plan to celebrate the holidays like it’s 2019 with friends and family. But more than a quarter are celebrating only with small groups, by themselves or only virtually with others.

Different types of celebrations call for different formats of beer, wine and spirits. We’ll get more into that in September, but think smaller-format and single serve over cases of bottles to be shared.

OND Theme 3: Cocktails > bottles

Spirits continue to dominate as does people’s preference for cocktails and mixed drinks. While spirits are always top-sellers during OND, we’re expecting to see an even bigger distance between wine and spirits this year. This could be driven by spirits made (and marketed) to be mixed — like lower-proof, lightly flavored liquors — and by premium spirits. No doubt that canned cocktails will also make an impact.

Next month, we’ll look at which spirits and cocktails specifically will command this trend, but start thinking not only about darker liquors (whiskey, rum) but wintery cocktails (Negroni) made with popular spirits (Tequila).

OND Theme 4: Cans

Cans aren’t going anywhere. The blend of convenience, serving size, variety and familiarity will carry canned cocktails through a strong OND. The format also eliminates sharing and can be consumed easily in person or on a virtual celebration; it’s ideal for a still-in-the-air holiday season that may see a mix of celebrations.

We imagine warmer cocktails that are easy to batch (like Old Fashioneds and Negronis) will be everywhere.

With these four themes in mind for the last few months of the year, start preparing your marketing and merchandising. When you build those selling points around the experience drinkers seek, you’ll find success.

See you in September for our product-focused update on this OND microtrends post.