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NielsenIQ Beverage Alcohol Update - Week ending March 27, 2021

by NielsenIQ
April 09, 2021

Unless otherwise noted, data and insights below are for the week ending March 27, 2021, compared to the same week last year in NielsenIQ off-premise channels.

For the latest week ending 3/27/21, total off-premise alcohol dollar sales declined by 1.3% compared to the same week last year. Spirits led growth, up 4.4% in dollars. Beer/FMB/cider and wine categories experienced declines for the latest week, down 0.8% and 7.4% respectively.  

Despite declines compared to last year, dollar sales for off-premise alcohol remain far above the normal range. When comparing the latest dollar sales to the same week two years ago in 2019, total off-premise alcohol is up 23%, with spirits up 37%, wine up 21%, and beer/FMB/cider up 18%.


For the week ending March 27, 2021, many large segments in beer experienced declines; however, there were some strong performers with growth in emerging segments. Premium lights were down 7.6%, below premium -12.1%, cider -11.7%, craft -6.5%, and FMBs (excluding seltzer) -7.1%. The super premium segment was close to flat (+0.3%), imports +9.5% and hard seltzers +27.8%. Hard tea (+44.1%) and no-alcohol beer (+41.0%) experienced the strongest growth rates in the category for the latest week in off-premise channels . 


Last year at this time, off-premise spirit dollars grew by 31.4% compared to the previous year. So it is all the more impressive that off-premise dollar sales are up again this year, surpassing sales from one of the big pantry-loading weeks last year. Tequila was the biggest growth driver, up 32.8% compared to last year. Other strong performers included ready-to-drink cocktails (up 194%), cognac (+37.2%), and whiskey (+4.0%), with scotch up 27.% and Japanese whisky up 61%. American whiskey was flat for the latest week. 


Total wine declined by 7.4% this week, driven by table wine (-11.5%), while sparkling wine was up 19.3%. Sparkling wine growth could reflect the influence of an early Easter as well (Easter fell a week earlier in 2021 vs 2020). It’s important to note again that trends vs. two years ago were still strong, up 21.1% (compared to 3/30/19). We continue to see polarizing trends from a price perspective, with all segments under $15 declining, and all segments $15+ growing. Within packaging, cans (+52.8%) and tetra (+18.2%) are still driving growth, as well as smaller formats, with 375ml up 37.4%.

The Food channel is still seeing the sharpest declines (-16%) compared to last year's surge, but both Convenience and Liquor channels are showing growth this week, up 8.8% and 8.7% respectively.


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