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Research shows retailers continue to take advantage of seasonal/promotional displays.

Consumers are buying more premium alcohol, seltzers

Alcoholic beverages have been impacted little during inflation; on-premise purchases are on the rise

As the age of indulgence continues among consumers during hard economic times, the latest research shows more are shifting to premium beer and wine. Retailers, however, are giving floor time to spirits.

Circana, previously IRI and NPD, released its State of the Beverage Alcohol Industry report, and the numbers show more are buying top brands in the beer and wine categories over the last 26 weeks. Spirits, according to the report, have experienced a resurgence. There also is a charge in healthier alcohol sales. Non-alcoholic sales and share of throat increased among millennials, Gen Xers and Boomers in 2022 compared to 2021, while Gen Zers paid more for traditional beer and non-alcoholic beverages. However, most buyers are purchasing in all three categories (beer, wine and spirits). That group represented 26% of all buyers.

In terms of inflation, alcohol at 6.3% has been one of the categories impacted the least, with fresh meat and seafood (4.3%) the only group coming in lower.

Hard seltzers continued to be strong sellers, as brands claimed the top five spots in the Top 10 Pacesetters list, and four were in the top 10 of New Product Pacesetters. Two also were listed in the report’s Rising Stars list among alcoholic beverages.

A third of all households purchased a ready-to-drink product in 2022 and spent in upwards of $144 annually on the category. Millennials and Gen Xers bought two-thirds of all ready-to-drink products.

On the retail side, alcoholic beverages were the only grocery category to make a noticeable gain on in-store displays, but most came in in-aisle, lobby and seasonal/promotional. New spirit seltzer products had retailers displaying the product more, but beer and wine seltzers received a reduction in floor time.

On-premise alcohol purchases are beginning to return to pre-COVID levels, but labor, inflation and what’s left of COVID-19 are making purchasing patterns inconsistent.

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