Our final(ish) microtrends post of the year! In December, we're planning a look-back and the trends that flourished and faltered this past year, and sending a few predictions for the new year.

Here's where to put focus to finish out the holidays:

Microtrend 1: Aperitifs and liqueurs (especially festive ones)

In researching how trends and products move through the independent channel this summer, we found that Aperol sales actually spiked in December (reaching higher volume sales than during the Summer of Spritz).

Our guess: It's festively colored without the intense bitter punch of Campari. It's a perfect mixer with bubbly, which is rampant around the holidays (see microtrend 2 below). And it makes for a super simple but elevated holiday sipper.

Be ready for sales of aperitifs like Aperol and Campari (of Negroni fame) to tick up as we near the end of the year. Capitalize by promoting other similar products — rich amari with spiced flavors, red vermouths. And don't rule out other festive liqueurs, like creme de menthe and eggnog liqueurs.

Microtrend 2: Luxury Champagne and accessible sparklings

Bubbles always benefit from the holidays. This time last year, we saw people purchasing premium options ($50-$60 bottles) more often than in 2019. The top-selling brand, Moet & Chandon, saw sales more than double on multiple varietals. Others (Veuve Clicquot, Tattinger) saw nearly 2x increases in sales.

But while premium Champagne 750s drove significant sales, we also noted an uptick for less premium sparkling wines in 187ml and 375ml bottles and cans.

Here were the top five from last year:

  • Barefoot Bubbly (187ml bottle), +389% unit sales
  • La Marca Prosecco (187ml bottle), + 234% unit sales
  • Dark Horse Brut Rose (375ml can), +119% unit sales
  • Babe Pinot Grigio with Bubbles (375ml cans, 4-pack), +110% unit sales
  • Cupcake Vineyards Prosecco (187ml bottles, 3-pack), +108%

These predictions aren't one-for-one this year, but we are still expecting strong sales of premium Champagnes and significant sales of single-serve sparkling options to accommodate a mix of gatherings.

Microtrend 3: Non-alc spirits and low-alc RTDs

Sure, Dry January is around the corner. (Wouldn't be OND without thinking about January, right?) But these days, people are drinking no-and-low year round.

A recent survey from IWSR found that 46% of people who drink no-and-low-alcohol spirits do so to reduce alcohol intake. (45% say they like the taste, 36% say it's an alternative when driving, and 49% say to avoid the effects of drinking alcohol).

Even though the holidays are usually a drinks-heavy season, expect more interest and adjacent purchases of non-alcoholic or low-ABV options. (Read more about the benefits of promoting low-ABV and non-alcoholic spirits from our white paper.)

If you don't already produce or carry non-alcoholic options, don't sweat it — find ways to make what you do have work. Promote lower-alcohol products in your inventory, or share flipped versions of recipes that limit the alcohol without changing the ingredients.

That's it for this edition! See you next month for a year in review.

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