Summertime is a highly anticipated for many ― especially those of us in cold weather parts of the United States whom are looking forward to enjoying the outdoors after a cold winter and rainy spring. In addition to the longer days and social gatherings that accompany the summer season is a shift in beverage consumption trends. 

In an Insights released just before summer from NielsenIQ titled “Sip into Summer: Unveiling the Top 5 Summer Beverage Trends,” the market research firm hones in on some trends that had been gradually rising but also ones that some might not have seen coming.

One identified summer beverage trend by NielsenIQ is likely no surprise to the readers of Beverage Industry, which is Cold Brew Craze. Noting cold brew coffee’s lower acidity and less caffeine compared with traditional coffee, NielsenIQ says it is viewed as a healthier alternative.

“It’s also relatively easy to make at home. This might be a major driver behind the growth of ready-to-drink and premade coffee, which is up 12.1% over last year,” the Insights states citing data for the 52 weeks ending April 29.

One summer beverage trend that stood out was Sustainable Sips. Here, NielsenIQ notes how aligned wellness and sustainable products are for consumers. 

“In fact, 92% of consumers say that sustainability is important when choosing a brand today,” the Insights notes.

NielsenIQ adds that plant-based milk alternatives and brands using biodegradable packaging already are making gains in the beverage space.

Perhaps one of the more pronounced trends identified by NielseIQ is the Rise of Mocktails. 

“Between August 2021 and August 2022, total dollar sales of non-alcoholic drinks in the U.S. stood at $395 million, showing a year-on-year growth of 20.6%,” the Insights states, citing 52 week data ending July 16, 2022, and 52 week data ending April 29. “The COVID-19 pandemic and a general cultural shift have caused more Americans to focus on their health, so many are pursuing alternatives to alcohol. In response, sales of non-alcoholic ready-to-drink mocktails are on the rise.”

It adds that ready-to-drink (RTD) is not the only segment that has benefited from mocktail interest as consumers are crafting their own mocktails, thereby lifting sales of juices, tonics and other mixers, it adds.


Mingle Mocktails package
Image courtesy of Mingle Mocktails


This also aligns with recent research released from Mintel that shows sober-curious lifestyles are more prevalent with today’s consumers with the market research firm noting that nearly four in 10 U.S. consumers closely (22%) or occasionally (16%) follow a sober curious lifestyle.

Mintel’s research found that the top reasons Americans indicated they follow or would follow a sober curious lifestyle are for physical health (39%), to save money (35%), to make alcohol an occasional indulgence (35%), and for mental health (29%).  

“Expansion of the sober curious lifestyle, and growth of alcohol alternative (AA) beverages, signals a more mindful approach in consumers' relationship with alcohol,” said Caleb Bryant, associate director of food and drink for Mintel Reports US, in a statement. “The sober curious lifestyle often provides consumers with a sense of community and support. In-person groups, online communities, and apps (including sober curious dating apps) exist to help consumers interested in recovery, teetotalers, and the sober-curious connect and support each other.”

Whatever is driving consumers’ beverage choices, it is likely you will see some of these drinks while socializing this summer.