The easy way to profit in the beverage alcohol category seems to be anything hard — namely waters, seltzers and other flavored drinks, as well as emerging better-for-you options in those segments and others. And with consumers and businesses alike facing an uncertain summer in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, these popular beverages can be marketed as providing folks an opportunity to relax and refresh.
Consumers in greater numbers are opting for these spirits, especially as the seasons change and the weather gets warmer. For example, when summer turns steamy, Tops Markets LLC is ready with thirst-quenching adult beverages for a variety of tastes.
- For summer imbibing, flavored malt beverages, particularly hard seltzers, are highly popular, along with better-for-you items across alcohol segments, aided by such strategies as sampling, grab-and-go placement, in-store displays, cross merchandising and digital engagement.
- Beer in cans continues to rule the seasonal roost, with nonalcoholic options available.
- Innovative, versatile formats such as freezable pops will keep customers excited by the category.
According to Jamie Szpylman, Tops’ category business manager for beer, wine and snacks, the Williamsville, N.Y.-based grocer promotes offerings through product sampling programs, advertising in its weekly flier to call out new items, a spotlight feature in the Tops Great Entertaining Spring & Summer magazine, cold-cooler placement, and in-store displays within the beer section, as well as cross merchandising around the store with complementary items. The supermarket chain also uses brewers’ digital consumer offers and giveaways to enhance the consumer experience, which the company communicates to its customers via digital media and its print ad.
“At Tops Markets, the total beverage alcohol category will see major volume increases over the summer months,” says Szpylman. “Roughly 40% of our total alcohol volume is done during the short summer season. Every week during the summer, alcohol sales will be far greater than even Super Bowl week.”
Further, the retailer has experienced year-over-year sales growth in the alcohol category for the past two years. “We do see slight declines in true beer, including craft beer sales, but the explosion of flavored malt beverages, especially hard seltzers, has more than made up for those declines,” observes Szpylman, noting that the FMB segment has logged “triple-digit growth the last few years.”
As to consumers’ other alcohol preferences, he notes, “We are also seeing trends towards better-for-you beverages which are lower in artificial flavors, sugars and calories.”