IWSR: U.S. consumers purchasing alcohol at higher rates to drink at home

Despite recent government directives to stay-at-home, U.S. beverage alcohol sales are buoyant as a result of shifts to retail, which includes e-commerce delivery and click-and-pick options, reports IWSR.

The recent growth rate in alcohol purchases has been increasing at a much higher pace than overall 2019 growth, which underscores the scale of the current consumer panic and comfort buying. In comparison to IRI’s weekly data for March 2020, IWSR, which tracks total annualized beverage alcohol consumption, showed preliminary 2019 full-year trends up 0.3% in volume and 2.5% in value.

IRI week-over-week data shows a steady increase in volume and value sales across beer, spirits and wine in the U.S. Figures for week ending March 22nd show total beverage alcohol USD sales increased 40% vs the same period last year, and volume sales increased 33% vs last year.

These numbers are higher than those of the previous week ending March 15 as well, and show a mix of increased purchase in both value and premium brands across categories.

Standout IRI-tracked categories over the latest week of March 22nd include premium box and table wine, flavored malt beverages (FMBs), non-alcoholic mixers and premixed cocktails. Softening sales are evident in higher-end sparkling wine, non- alcoholic beer and imported beer.

IRI data also indicates key trends across packaging showing a jump in large- format wine and spirits sales in the week ending March 22 compared to previous weeks. Spirits packaging in 1 liter, 1.5 liter and 1.75 liter and wine sized 1.5 liter and higher, including popular 3-liter boxed wines, outpaced smaller formats.

Top-selling volume brands like Tito’s, White Claw and Barefoot have all been enjoying accelerated growth rates, not only annually according to IWSR, but in IRI channels over the last several weeks. The Budweiser family of brands has reversed a 52-week volume decline, posting growth week ending March 22. Across spirits, whiskey brands like Wild Turkey, Crown Royal, Jack Daniel’s, Bulleit and Maker’s Mark are all seeing increased purchase at retail.

Interestingly, Corona brands have seen a spike with sales volumes up 28.8%.