Beer| Insights| Liquor

How Beer, Wine, and Liquor Sales Trend by Season (2017 Edition)

By Stephen Ngo

Featured Article: The Most Popular Beer & Liquor Brands of 2018

Beverage Seasonality Reports: 2015–2016 // 2017 (viewing)

Last year, we took our first look at the seasonality of on-premise alcoholic beverage orders. Since then, our user base has grown to 43 states—well beyond our New England roots. You’ve asked us to show the latest data whenever possible. So we’re making a point to show what we’re seeing in bar & restaurant industry trends.

Pour Costs in 2016 Industry Trend Report BevSpot

How Beer, Wine, and Liquor Sales Trend by Season (2017 Edition)

Here’s what the last 12 months of data tells us about shifts in demand for beer, wine, and spirits between the seasons.

Seasonal Trends by Category

Wine still sees its highest on-premise sales in the autumn, with demand dropping off after the December holidays end.

Beer sees seasonal shifts in demand that are inverse to those of wine. Orders for beer decline throughout the fall months, bottoming out in December; they then quickly rebound in January. In our latest sample, though, beer’s summer order share—which was relatively strong in 2016—appears to have declined in 2017. Maybe there’s something to the rumors of the beer category’s death by millennial. (...Along with the 69 other things we’ve killed.)

With the exception of a spike in December and January, it’s harder to discern a headline seasonal trend in spirits’ share of alcoholic beverage orders. But there is an overall increase in spirits’ order share among BevSpot users. Stay tuned for an upcoming breakdown of liquor sales by season, when we provide updated data on seasonal trends in the market share of specific spirit types.

Why did these results shift from early 2015-late 2016?

If you compare these metrics to the results of our first analysis, you might notice the lower overall order share of wine. Wine’s order share fluctuated between 30% and 40% in 2015 and early 2016; in the second half of 2016 and first half of 2017, it fluctuated between 20% and 30% of orders. What happened?

In that first look, we noted that BevSpot’s users at the time were mainly concentrated in New England. According to data from the Beverage Information Group, the region sees some of the highest per-capita wine consumption in the United States: New Hampshire, Vermont, and Massachusetts see more wine consumption per capita than other states. An on-premise sample skewed towards this region might see disproportionately high wine orders.

The updated results also show a higher order share for beer, and a lower one for spirits. These might also be related to our wider coverage: according to data compiled from Beer Institute Research, most New England states see per-capita beer consumption at or below the national average, with the most populous states of Massachusetts and Connecticut ranked at 42nd and 48th respectively (though this off-premise data does rank New Hampshire at 2nd, from which many New Englanders purchase their alcohol). The newest analysis, then, might be more reflective of national trends.

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