It’s a common question with many possible answers. But, what are people ordering at the bar? It’s been one year since we published our 2016 report of the top-ordered beer and spirit brands in the U.S. What’s changed since then?
In this post, we investigate which beer and liquor brands were most popular in the U.S. in 2017, and how those trends shifted from the previous year.
The following report aggregates alcoholic beverage orders and invoice data from U.S. BevSpot users from all twelve months of 2017. These users represent bars and restaurants numbering in the high triple-digits, located in 46 states plus the District of Columbia. All figures represent percentages of orders in dollar terms.
Craft brands represent a growing portion of the U.S. beer market, but the segment is cluttered and localized. For example, Boston’s largest local craft brewer, Harpoon, is the only craft brewery on our list. This is partly due to its wide availability among local BevSpot bars. Its national market share is only a fraction of mass market brands’.
For craft brewers to grow beyond their saturated home bases, they need massive marketing budgets and supply chain networks. Large beer conglomerates have plenty of both, which is why many craft brewers are yielding to acquisition. Lagunitas’ acquisition by Heineken was a major example of this from 2017.
Vodka vs. Whiskey
There are two explanations for this. Vodka’s share of spirit orders dropped by almost a percentage point over the last year. This implies that people are more likely to order whiskey at a bar and purchase vodka to drink at home.
If that’s the case, someone ordering whiskey at a bar is probably ordering a more expensive, premium brand. The higher price point weighs whiskey higher than vodka when measuring by dollars sold.