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Mixed drinks boost off-trade spirits sales in US

Off-trade spirits sales in the US grew by 48.5% in the week ending 9 May 2020 due to the rise of mixed drinks, according to Nielsen’s latest figures.

US consumers are drinking more mixed drinks at home

Off-trade alcohol sales in the US grew 34.8% in the seven-day period, led by spirits. Wine rose by 35.8%, followed by beer, flavoured malt beverages and cider which grew 29.3%. Beer in particular increased by 20.4%.

For the last three weeks, Nielsen highlighted the growth of four segments which consistently stood out: ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktails, Tequila, cordials and gin.

Nielsen said RTD cocktails provide convenience and the category continues to expand its presence and extend its “innovative combinations of flavours and liquor types”.

Nielsen added that Tequilas, cordials and gins represent categories that are “more highly developed” in the off-trade than in the on-trade, and “align with a rise in mixed drinks at home”.

Mexican celebration Cinco de Mayo (5 May) also led to consumers making more Margaritas at home, Nielsen noted. RTD Margaritas rose by 190%, Tequila sales were up 114% and Margarita mixers increased by 123% in the off-trade during the week ending 9 May.

In addition, Nielsen said that Cognac, American whiskey and Irish whiskey grew at rates exceeding total spirits over the last three weeks.

As with wine, the number of spirit products selling in Nielsen’s measured off-trade channels continued to remain firm, suggesting no large-scale reduction of spirits available to shoppers in these stores to this point.

For the nine-week Covid-19-affected period from 7 March to 9 May, spirits grew by 35.6% in the US off-trade.

Total online off-trade alcohol sales are up 338.8% year-over-year for the one-week period ending 9 May.

Danny Brager, senior vice president of beverage alcohol at Nielsen: “In looking ahead, we may see some slowdown in off-premise alcohol growth in next week’s data, for the week ending May 16.

“But we then expect sales to accelerate leading up to Memorial Day, due to several factors: weather, consumer confidence in celebrating via consumption at home/out-of-home, along with likely some (albeit limited) on-premise consumption.”

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