The beverage alcohol retail tier continues to see double-digit growth into the fall, despite erratic consumer buying habits and distribution patterns. Online and curbside pickup sales remain strong for retailers throughout the country, and as temperatures cool and Americans brace for the Covid-19 pandemic’s anticipated second wave, customers are stocking up on their favorite products—seasonal or otherwise.
As consumers thirsts transcend seasons, Austin, Texas-based Twin Liquors is experiencing strong demand for rosés heading into fall, led by the 2019 La Riviera ($15 a 750-ml.), Castell de Sant Pau Cava rosé ($11), and 2019 Fontcreuse Cotes De Provence rosé ($20). RTDs and Tequilas also remain hot at retail. “As new RTDs from iconic brands such as Ketel One and Crown Royal arrive in the market, we expect this category to continue growing,” says Sandra Spalding, director of marketing at Twin Liquors. And Bob Kreston, owner of Delaware-based Kreston Wine & Spirits, says supply isn’t meeting demand for RTDs and Tequilas at his two stores. “You can’t base any retail trends on historical data right now,” he says.
Single Barrels Make Gains
After Kreston’s sales initially spiked at 30% this spring, gains have slowed—but remains in the double-digits, the retailer says. Led by Patrón Silver ($46 a 750-ml.), Jose Cuervo Gold ($29 a 1.75-liter), and Jose Cuervo Silver ($17 a 750-ml.), Kreston’s Tequila sales are high, despite inventory challenges.
Single-barrel Bourbons and Tequilas are also drawing customer interest at Kreston’s. The chain currently stocks Don Julio Private Cask Tequila ($70 a 750-ml.), as well as ten single-barrel Bourbons including Widow Jane ($75), Wilderness Trail ($48), and Maker’s Mark Private Selection ($65).
Twin Liquors is also on the single-barrel train. Fourth-generation Twin Liquors family member Michael Salome, who works on the company’s marketing and technology team, blended his own special barrel, Maker’s Mark Twin 4th Generation Private Select ($70 a 750-ml).
Strong Beer Sales
Oktoberfest beers began arriving at Kreston’s in July and have been gaining steam with craft IPAs, pilsners, and sour beers. Pumpkin beers sell well, but have calmed down from their heyday. “We never know what’s going to sell now,” says Jeff Kreston, vice president of Kreston Wine & Spirits. “Since people are drinking at home, they buy what they want.”
Leading Oktoberfest beers at Kreston are Paulaner ($11 a 6-pack of 11.2-ounce bottles), Hacker-Pschorr ($11), Spaten ($10 a 6-pack of 12-ounce bottles), and Sam Adams ($10). And IPAs in particular are on fire for the Delaware retailer. Leaders include Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA ($9 a 6-pack of 12-ounce bottles), selected Victory IPAs ($10-$14), and selected Equilibrium IPAs ($26-$30 a 4-pack of 16-ounce cans). “IPAs are still rolling and people don’t seem to care what prices are on them,” Jeff Kreston says.
Kreston can barely keep up with demand for beer 30-packs. “We’re selling more 30 packs than we usually do,” Jeff Kreston notes. “People who were buying 6-packs or 12-packs are now buying 30-packs.” Among the top selling 30-packs are Miller Lite ($22 a 30-pack), Coors Light ($22), and Budweiser ($23). “The main issue with some of the beer is inventory and being able to get certain packages,” he adds. “We’re buying large quantities, looking to take whatever we can get.”