Boston-based Drizly released its third annual BevAlc Insights by Drizly Retail Report, culled from a nationwide survey of more than 500 alcohol retailers during November 2021. Among standout findings, retailers expected higher sales during the holiday season despite reports of Champagne shortages, felt concerned about supply chain issues yet still optimistic about 2022, are poised to stock (yet) more tequila, have fresh interest in craft beer, and see big potential for cannabis-infused products.

The report, which also incorporates 2021 sales data derived from the Drizly platform, points to more shelf space for organic and natural products, along with locally produced beer, wine and spirits. And although hard seltzer’s torrid growth leveled off, retailers remain strongly bullish about ready-to-drink cocktails’ growth prospects.

“We know alcohol retailers have a strong pulse on consumer behavior and demand as they see trends and shifts firsthand in their stores day in, day out,” said Cathy Lewenberg, chief operating officer at Drizly, in a statement. “We’ve observed more of our Retail Partners on Drizly also leveraging Drizly’s data and insights to help drive their decision making when it comes to stocking new products. Combining their real-time observations with these data-driven insights ― the perfect mix of art and science ― helped form our annual retail report with a deep understanding of what's to come in 2022.”

The following are more key findings from the report:

  • 2022 could be the year that tequila outsells vodka: Nearly 80% of retailers plan to carry more tequila next year, on par with bourbon, and 40 points ahead of vodka. It mirrors sales trends on Drizly, where over the past few years tequila’s share of spirits sales has grown by 13%, while vodka’s share has declined by 2%.
  •  People want to feel good about what they're drinking: Asked about special attributes that matter most, 66% of retailers surveyed said that they seek to stock locally made products, followed closely by organic and natural products (60%). What's more, products for health-conscious shoppers ranked close behind (57%), at a time when 90% of retailers on Drizly now stock non-alcohol beer, wine and other alternatives, and share of such products on Drizly are up 120% since 2020.
  • Canned wars: Craft beer might reclaim shelf space from hard seltzer. Even as half of retailers surveyed see themselves carrying more hard seltzer next year, 57% said they expect to devote more shelf space to craft beer. On the flipside, 23% of retailers plan to stock less hard seltzer in 2022, in contrast to the only 8% who plan to do the same with craft beer.
  • Retailers are very bullish about cannabis- and CBD-infused products: In a landslide, more than 50% of retailers believe that cannabis- and CBD-infused beverages have the industry’s biggest growth potential, although most CBD and cannabis-infused drinks have still not been approved by the FDA or TTB, it notes. That is nearly double those who cited non-alcohol products (26%).