And the 2023 Top 20-Selling Spirits at Drizly Are …

Sales data shows consumer favorites, rising players in this top-performing category; at 33% share, whiskey was largest liquor subcategory
Glass of green absinthe with fume going out
Photograph: Shutterstock

In 2023, spirits accounted for 46% of total sales at Boston-based alcohol-delivery company Drizly, making it the platform’s best-selling category and a stat convenience stores should note.

“This reflects a steady rise over the past three years, with spirits share up from 45% in 2022, 44% in 2021 and 41% in 2020,” said the company, which is being shut down by owner Uber by the end of March.

To help brands and retailers make the most of sales in the red-hot spirits category, Drizly looked at its best-selling products for 2023.

“Several trends came to the fore, from the continued domination of the whiskey and tequila subcategories to the slowing of premiumization,” Drizly said.

Here are Drizly’s 20 Top-Selling Spirits SKUs in 2023:

  1. Tito’s Handmade Vodka
  2. Casamigos Blanco Tequila
  3. Jameson Irish Whiskey
  4. Clase Azul Reposado Tequila
  5. Grey Goose Vodka
  6. High Noon Vodka Hard Seltzer Variety Pack
  7. Espolòn Blanco Tequila
  8. Ketel One Vodka
  9. Bulleit Bourbon Whiskey
  10. Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey
  11. Smirnoff No. 21 80 Proof Vodka
  12. Svedka Vodka
  13. Maker’s Mark Bourbon Whisky
  14. Casamigos Reposado Tequila
  15. Don Julio 1942 Tequila
  16. Hennessy V.S. Cognac
  17. Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
  18. Patrón Silver Tequila
  19. Fireball Cinnamon Whisky
  20. Jim Beam Bourbon Whiskey

Whiskey Dominant

Retailers can continue stocking consumer favorites in the year ahead without worry, Drizly said.

“Tito’s Vodka heads Drizly’s list of the year’s best-selling liquor SKUs, as it has since 2019, while whiskey continues its reign as the platform’s dominant liquor subcategory,” the company said.

At 33% share, whiskey was the largest liquor subcategory on Drizly in 2023, followed by vodka at 23%, tequila 19% and ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktails 7%. Compared to 2022, only vodka and RTDs experienced share gains; each grew 1 percentage point over the previous year.

“After red-hot growth, this was the first time in a couple of years that tequila’s share remained flat year-over-year,” said Liz Paquette, Drizly’s head of consumer insights. While whiskey continues to lead among liquor subcategory sales, she said, its 2-percentage-point share decline is worth watching.

Whiskey makes up seven of the top 20 entries, while tequila represents six and vodka five. The ranking also includes cognac at 16 and vodka-based hard seltzer at six.

Despite the leveling off in overall share, tequila continues to make a solid showing on Drizly’s top-selling spirits list since 2020.

“Clase Azul, for example, was the number 19 spirit in 2020, yet it ranked fourth in 2023,” Drizly said. “RTD cocktails moved up the ranking as well, with the High Noon Variety Pack making a big jump from number 13 in 2022 to number six in 2023.”

Trends, Subcategories to Watch

Adam Rogers, the research director at IWSR Drinks Market Analysis, observed a slowdown in the “trading up” trend last year, he said.

“Premiumization evolved in 2023, with consumers placing more attention on price and quality,” he said. “This led to a slowdown within the higher price tiers as consumers opted for lower-priced brands to meet their quality standards.”

On Drizly, the average unit price for the spirits category in 2023 was $28.33, a slight decline from $29.30 the prior year.

“This is still above pre-pandemic levels of $27.73 in 2019,” Paquette said. “Liquor is the only overall category that saw a decline in average unit price in the past year, suggesting that the premiumization that surged in this category is slowing.”

Certain spirits subcategories did see year-over-year gains in average unit price, however, including Japanese whisky, Armagnac, absinthe, Tennessee whiskey and aged rum. The fastest-growing subcategories compared to 2022 were RTD Martinis, driven by the rise in RTD espresso martinis along with non-alcoholic spirits, baijiu, flavored brandy and Tennessee whiskey.

The no/low alcohol segments are outperforming their total categories, according to IWSR data, Rogers said. Also, tequila, bourbon and rye whiskey, and spirit aperitifs are enjoying good sales.

“Bourbon and rye remain in growth mode due to core consumer followings captivated by limited-release offerings,” he said.

Who Is Buying Spirits on Drizly?

Consumer demographics and generational differences in alcohol consumption continued to impact the spirits category’s performance in 2023.

“Specifically, with the unique dynamics of legal-drinking-aged Gen Z consumers and the aging population in America, a shift toward lifestyle changes, health and wellness-oriented consumption, and moderation in drinking habits is occurring,” he said.

On Drizly, relative to other generations, Gen Z over-indexes on reposado and anejo tequila, RTDs, flavored whiskey, and liqueurs, cordials and schnapps. Millennials, who comprise Drizly’s largest buyer group, lean toward many of the same subcategories, in addition to over-indexing on silver/blanco tequila.

To the Future

Moving into 2024, Paquette expects a continued surge in sales of mocktails and non-alcoholic RTDs, two trends that took off in 2023.

Another trend this year is the continued growth of sipping tequilas such as reposado and anejo, even as tequila growth slows overall, Paquette said.

“In the same survey, more than a quarter of respondents said they planned to sip tequila in the new year,” she said

As in 2023, macroeconomic trends will continue to impact the broader premiumization trend, although to a lesser degree, Rogers predicted.

“This year is expected to be more positive, with lower interest rates and higher levels of disposable income,” he said.

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