As we’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, alcohol delivery services are changing the shape of the liquor industry during the pandemic. Their convenience has led to millions of new customers around the country, which is impressive, considering there are still many states where they aren’t allowed to operate. Most of these services work by partnering with local liquor stores, which show their catalogue of products on the service’s app or web page, so that users can select what they want and purchase it online. Then, drivers hired by the delivery service bring the bottles to the customer and receive a small commission and, hopefully, a tip.
It would seem that this relationship benefits everyone involved: the liquor store, the delivery service, the driver, and the customer. However, some people argue that the relationship actually hurts local liquor stores, who receive significantly less money per sale than they do from in-store purchases. What are the downsides to these partnerships, and how can they be improved? The answer, as you might have guessed, involves data. (more…)
You may be surprised to learn that some people walking around with headphones on are not listening to the latest Taylor Swift album, but are instead learning about the latest liquor industry news and gaining a few mixology tips.
One hundred forty-four million Americans listen to podcasts, and there’s no shortage of great drink podcasts that provide mixology tips, industry news, and more.
Businesses spent a total of $497 million on podcast advertising in 2018, according to Small Biz Genius. But with the abundance of podcasts seeking sponsorship, liquor companies can benefit from joining that club to gain customers and increase brand awareness. 54% of podcast consumers say they think about buying products advertised during the podcast, making this a new possible revenue channel for brands. (more…)
Alcohol delivery apps are perhaps the fastest-growing area of the beverage alcohol industry right now. Even before the pandemic, sales for alcohol delivery services were on the rise. But once the stay-at-home orders were put in place, their numbers went through the roof. Months have passed since then and liquor stores are back open, but the delivery apps are still going strong. Perhaps customers who initially tried out the apps during the early days of the pandemic came to rely on their convenience, or perhaps people recognize that case numbers have not gone down and that non-essential trips out of the house are still a risk. Whatever the reasons, alcohol delivery apps appear to be here to stay.
But there’s one big problem with these services that hasn’t yet been solved: they aren’t available to everyone. Roughly half of the country, by area, is located in a ‘dead zone.’ Delivering within cities is easy enough, since the storage facilities and residences are all fairly close together. But in non-urban areas, having the infrastructure to deliver to every single home just isn’t practical. While the COVID-19 pandemic has been good for business in some ways, it also presents new challenges, especially in delivering to new areas. How long will it take for these services to be available nationwide, and is that goal even realistic? (more…)
Customers don’t want to try something new right now. Sales for well-known brands have sky-rocketed, leaving smaller brands, restaurants, and bars behind.
“People are buying more, but cheaper and commercial stuff. They’re not willing to take a risk and try something different right now,” Juan Quintero, a partner in the liquor store Whiskey and Wine in Manhattan, told The New York Times.
The National Restaurant Association’s survey estimates that the restaurant and foodservice industry lost nearly $120 billion in sales during the first three months of the pandemic, according to ABC News. Eateries and bars raked in $38.6 billion in sales in May, on a seasonally-adjusted basis, but that’s down $27 billion from January and February of this year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Now wineries, restaurants, and bars are trying to recover. (more…)
We already know that Americans are drinking more during quarantine. This is understandable, since it often seems like there’s not much else to be doing while trapped at home. Some have attempted to keep themselves busy by picking up a new hobby instead. Activities like breadmaking are becoming more popular than they have in decades. And now, many have begun combining drinking with hobbies by crafting their own beer, wine, and spirits at home.
Several online retailers are now selling home brewing or infusing kits, which can be used to produce small batches of beer, whiskey, gin, and several other types of spirits. Making liquor at home can be a nice way to avoid unnecessary trips to the liquor store during the pandemic, but more importantly, gives people an entertaining activity that lets them learn more about their favorite spirits. The popularity of these kits has grown during the pandemic, and will likely continue to do so. (more…)
Since the death of George Floyd in May, Black Lives Matter protests have flooded the streets across the country. In Corporate America and across a multitude of industries, companies are pledging to devote more resources towards and focus on Black brands, Black entrepreneurs, and Black-owned businesses.
In the wine industry, there are only about 11,000 Black-owned wineries, but this small contingent is powerful, and they are making unique, delicious vintages.
“Wine and the wine industry has historically been a white man’s world, and that’s changing quickly,” Robin and Andréa McBride, who founded The McBride Sisters, told Forbes in 2018. “We encourage the wine consumer to explore outside of the old expectations of wine.”
In times of economic turmoil, the wine and spirits industry has typically been one of the most resilient sectors. Even now, with the COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the U.S. economy, sales of alcoholic beverages remain strong. However, that is not to say that the pandemic hasn’t had some profound and unexpected effects on sales.
Although it’s already been said ad-nauseum, these truly are unprecedented times. As such, sticking to current methods, or basing decisions on what worked in the past, is a recipe for failure. The best way to quickly determine what is going on, and how to respond, is to follow the data.
The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed many aspects of day-to-day life, including what liquor stores are selling.
Typical buying patterns have changed. Customers have larger ticket sizes to reduce the frequency of their deliveries or avoid having to make multiple trips to the store. Customers are also sticking with big-brand names they can trust.
Despite rising COVID-19 cases, most of the governors in the United States have lifted stay-at-home orders. But some states such as Texas have now banned bars from serving alcohol to keep the infectious virus at bay.
The unprecedented stay-at-home orders and whiplash of phased reopening starting and pausing have left customers craving their favorite cocktail, and disgruntled brands looking for new revenue streams.
In response, some state legislatures are working to change their laws to allow alcohol delivery.
Many states forbid shipping wine and spirits, halting the growth of delivery giants such as Drizly and hampering direct-to-consumer efforts from wineries and distilleries.
During the pandemic, residents tried to stay home, but the demand grew for happy hours at home and delivery. (more…)
While the COVID-19 pandemic has not slowed down purchases of wine and spirits from liquor stores and online vendors, it did eliminate one crucial avenue of beverage sales: restaurants and other social venues. Premium wines have taken an especially big hit, since people tend to order more expensive wine when they go out, but drink the cheaper stuff at home. This shift has had a dramatic impact on the wine industry in the months since the pandemic began.
Even before the stay-at-home orders went into effect, on-premise drinking was experiencing an overall decline. But that may soon start to change yet again. Restaurants in 44 states have reopened, or are set to reopen in some capacity in the near future. While many are still rightfully cautious about the spread of disease, the months of isolation have left others eagerly awaiting the chance to go out to eat and drink, especially taking into account the pleasant summer weather.
Will people risk coming out in numbers this summer for social drinking? And how will outdoor drinking this summer affect the wine and spirits industry? Let’s examine.