What’s the Buzz?
Other new or unique offerings can lend a fresh, festive dynamic to retailers’ adult beverage sections during a period of peak entertaining.
In a marketplace awash with health-and-wellness products in the wake of a global health crisis, the adult beverage category now includes an array of better-for-you drinks that can be a part of holiday blasts and repasts. For instance, agave spirits are performing well, up 15.9% in volume last year, according to IWSR.
Some startup and niche brands are getting noticed for their products that have a certain health halo. The mixer brand Avec, for instance, offers products made with all-natural real juices and botanicals, canned and ready to be blended with spirits.
Another trend largely centered on holistic wellness is influencing the adult beverage category as well: the rise of mocktails and nonalcoholic beverages for teetotalers or the “sober curious.”
A new analysis of Nielsen data conducted by Goldman Sachs Equity Research has found that sales of nonalcoholic drinks rose 12.9% for the two-week period ending Oct. 9, and dollar sales climbed 22.6% on a two-year stacked basis.
Because mocktails and alcohol-free products are typically sold in the same department as adult beverages, grocers can keep an eye on trends and new product offerings that appeal to those exploring a sober lifestyle. Many inventive products have entered this space, like a line of RTD Mingle Mocktails, available in Cranberry Cosmo, Blackberry Hibiscus Bellini, Cucumber Melon Mojito, Moscow Mule and Blood Orange Elderflower Mimosa varieties. Recently, KeHE Distributors picked up Mingle Mocktails for distribution in California, Illinois, Indiana and Texas, bringing the number of stores that carry the items close to 2,000.
“As a brand founded on inclusivity, we see Mingle being sold and served everywhere that alcohol is sold and served, so everyone feels part of the party,” explains founder and CEO Laura Taylor.
A product called Jeng is another nonalcoholic beverage that can be an option for shoppers. A hemp-infused RTD cocktail that contains 11 milligrams of CBD, Jeng is available in flavors that replicate traditional cocktails, including a Moscow mule, gin and tonic, and paloma.
Also mixing it up in the adult beverage category is the introduction of home bartending appliances that make entertaining easier and fun. Available at Target, Macy’s and the culinary specialty store Williams-Sonoma, Bartesian is an at-home on-demand cocktail machine that makes “lounge-quality” drinks, using cocktail capsules filled with mixers, extracts and juices that can be paired with any vodka, whiskey, gin, rum or tequila.
“Bartesian delivers all the benefits of a fully stocked bar in one sleek and compact machine,” says Ryan Close, founder and CEO. “Retailers should absolutely consider adding Bartesian to their adult beverage/spirits section as a unique and exciting offering for their customers. We’ve seen enormous growth via both our brick-and-mortar retailer partners as well as via our e-commerce channels.”
If new products help grocers widen their appeal to a diverse shopper base, retailers are also broadening their efforts to connect with customers who are ready to entertain with alcoholic beverages.
Curbside pickup and home delivery are one way to meet the needs of shoppers who have become accustomed to such conveniences. Grocers competing with delivery services like DoorDash and Drizly can offer pickup and delivery options to adult beverage shoppers, especially during the holiday season, when celebrations are peaking and time is at a premium.
Some grocers are going especially big with adult beverages. Midwestern grocer Hy-Vee, for instance, has opened a new Wall to Wall Wine and Spirits store that’s pretty much turnkey for entertaining. The store sells wine, spirits and craft beer, along with grocery items that pair well with adult drinks, and a selection of barware.