Rising in Fall: Lagers, Italian Red Wines, Reposado Tequilas

Drizly rolls out predictions for biggest beverage sellers this fall
wine bottle delivery
Image: Shutterstock

Consumers this fall will change beverage preferences, with lagers, Italian red wines and reposado tequilas poised to experience a rise in popularity as hard seltzers, IPAs and rose start to decline, according to alcohol delivery company Drizly’s BevAlc Insights.

In addition, seasonal drinks will be big, data from the company forecasts. Here’s a closer look at Drizy’s insights:

Italian Reds Wines

Red wine traditionally experiences share gains in fall and winter, and this year’s seasonal shift is putting a new category, Italian wines, in the spotlight, Drizly said. In 2023 to date, Italian wine accounts for 7.4% of the red wine category compared with 6.7% the same time last year.

Likewise, Italian grape varieties including Barbera, Montepulciano, Nebbiolo and Sangiovese are among the fastest-growing red wine varieties this year.

“It appears that consumers are beginning to see red wine as a more versatile, year-round drink rather than as a seasonal beverage, with increasing plans to drink it during the summer months—and that’s spilling over into the fall season as well,” said Liz Paquette, Boston-based Drizly’s head of consumer insights.

Paquette noted that 31% of respondents in Drizly’s annual consumer survey reported red wine as their go-to summer beverage.

“It appears that consumers are beginning to see red wine as a more versatile, year-round drink.”

“We think this trend could be related to the media and social media focus on Europe, especially Italian summer, driving sales for drinks like the Aperol spritz,” she said.

The Italian wine surge also is expanding in the on-premise market, according to data from NielsenIQ, indicating this popularity jump also will continue growing in off-premise channels.

“The consumer preference for Italian red wine is up 6% compared with last year, the highest growth of any country of origin,” says Ben Tilton, the associate client solutions manager for NielsenIQ. “That’s second only to domestic reds in terms of preference.”

Consumers’ reach toward Italian varieties could represent a significant boost to the bottom line for well-stocked retailers, since these imported wines carry higher average unit prices in 2023, with Italian reds averaging $22.94 per bottle compared with $20.62 for red wines in general. Retailers should think about stocking Italian reds in the $10 to $20 and $20 to $30 range, which account for 65% of Italian wine category share, Drizly said.

Lagers to Retain Strength

Classic lagers are likely to experience growth this season “as sporting events and seasonal brews put beer center stage,” Drizly said.

Lager, already trending in 2023, makes up 42% of beer share overall compared with the same period in 2022. Lager subcategories, which include light lagers, American-style lagers, pilsners and pale lagers, “all have seen significant growth over the same period, indicating consumers are returning to classic drinks at the expense of the subcategories that have garnered much attention in recent years, such as hard seltzers and IPAs,” Drizly said.

Paquette said the declining share of hard seltzer in the beer category is playing a role in the share gains for lager, particularly light lager, which has regained its position this year as the top-selling beer subcategory on Drizly. She noted hard seltzer’s share has declined to 17.5% of beer share in 2023 to date, down from 2022’s 19.8% in 2022.

Among seasonal beers that often propel autumn sales, BevAlc Insights predicts pumpkin-flavored brews will stay popular.

Reposado Still Rising

Expect a spike for tequila, which has been very popular the last several years, with Halloween a popular occasion to drink this spirit—particularly reposado SKUs, Drizly said.

“Consumers are expanding their tequila drinking beyond popular cocktails like margaritas, seeing the spirit as a premium beverage for sipping, competing more closely with whiskey and other high-end spirits,” Drizly said.

Reposado tequila makes up 30% of the tequila category to date in 2023 compared with 28% in the same time period in 2022. Silver and blanco SKUs still outnumber reposados, but this category is now the second-most available style of tequila on the platform. 

“Consumers are expanding their tequila drinking beyond popular cocktails like margaritas.”

“In terms of subcategories within tequila, reposado [is a standout] from a growth perspective, with volume gains of 11.5%,” Tilton said. “Reposado now represents 16.2 percent of the total tequila category in terms of dollar share.”

In 2023 to date, the most popular reposado offerings on Drizly come from well-established brands with strong distribution, including Clase Azul Reposado Tequila, Casamigos Reposado, Don Julio Reposado, Espolon Tequila Reposado, Teremana Tequila Reposado, and Don Julio Rosado Tequila Reposado.

Prepping for At-Home Parties

Fall brings a return to at-home hosting with occasions like football games, Halloween and Thanksgiving, Drizly said, providing retailers the opportunity to capitalize on large orders.

Data from Drizly’s annual consumer report indicates consumers will host as much or more than usual this year, with 47% of survey respondents indicating they’ll host as often as they did in 2022 and an extra 22% planning to host friends and family more often this year.

“Hosting typically comes with the largest basket sizes since hosts are buying for larger groups, therefore more price conscious,” Paquette said. “Retailers can capitalize on this by highlighting deals on products online as well as in store.”

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