At the onset of each new year, I always anticipate what the year might hold in store for me when setting my personal goals. For instance, if I’m setting out with the goal of making a large purchase, I anticipate different scenarios that could lead to hitting my target.

Similarly, where most companies project what’s in store for the year ahead, this year Drizly surveyed 1,000 adults of legal drinking age about the drinks they plan to purchase most in 2024.

In its “Top 5 Drink Trends to Watch in 2024,” Drizly highlights how premium tequila and ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktails are positioned to continue to lead growth, while beer is expected to see a resurgence.

The beer category

Beer tops the list of beverages that survey respondents plan to continue to consume in the coming year, according to Drizly.

Of those surveyed, 68% said they anticipate buying beer in 2024 compared with 67% who made that claim in the same survey the year prior. This is a potential reversal of the five-year trend on Drizly where beer share has been on the decline, dropping from 18% share of total sales in 2019 to 14% share in 2023, the company says.

At the same time, fewer consumers — 34% this year compared with 37% the prior year — anticipate purchasing hard seltzer next year, according to Drizly. This tracks with trends in 2022 and 2023; within the beer category on Drizly, hard seltzer share is down, from 19% share to 17% year-over-year, it notes.

“Hard seltzer’s share has been on the decline for the past two years,” said Liz Paquette, head of consumer insights at Drizly, in a statement.  “Part of this is driven by the rise in ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktails as well as renewed interest in light lager, which compete closely with the hard seltzer category.”

It also reflects the growth of mainstay beer subcategories such as light lager, which led the beer category in this year’s survey, the company says. More consumers — 43% compared with 38% the previous year — indicated that they plan to drink lager in the coming year, more than any other beer subcategory, it notes.

Premium tequila

Tequila has been among the fastest-growing categories on Drizly over the past five years, it says. Although growth has slowed in the past year, reposado tequila has gained share over silver/Blanco — pointing to growing interest in more premium tequila styles, the company notes.

Among survey respondents who said they plan to purchase tequila in 2024, 19% said they anticipate spending $200 or more on a bottle. The top response was the $25 to $49 price range, cited by 26% of tequila drinkers, according to Drizly. In 2023, tequilas priced at $100 or more a bottle accounted for 26% of all tequila sales on Drizly, it says.

Further, more than a quarter of consumers are looking for high-end tequilas to sip in 2024, while 74% plan to mix the spirit into cocktails in the coming year, the company says.

“We believe the trend of sipping tequila versus using it as a cocktail ingredient is one of the key drivers of this trend as more premium products are typically associated with this use case,” Paquette added. “Increased consumer knowledge of the category as well as role as gifts have also contributed to the trend.”

Ready-to-drink cocktails

Thirty-four percent of survey participants — up from 32% last year — said they plan to buy RTD cocktails in the coming year, and the majority plan to try new brands in 2024, the company says.

According to Drizly’s survey, the top factors that entice consumers to try a new RTD cocktail brands include:

  • A type of cocktail that I love (59%)
  • A new type of cocktail I was curious to try (58 %)
  • A recommendation from friends or family (48%)
  • Price point (46%)
  • It’s made by a spirits company I am familiar with (45%)

Meanwhile, the non-alcohol (NA) drinks trend — a category that has grown 62% year-over-year in 2023 — isn’t slowing down, the company says. Sixty-three percent of survey respondents reported that they have tried or intend to try zero-proof beverages in 2024, and a notable one-third specifically plan to drink mocktails, it notes.

“This coincides with the soaring growth we have seen in the non-alcoholic spirits category in particular in the past year,” Paquette noted. “Share is up 167% in 2023 to date compared to 2022, making it among the fastest-growing subcategories on the platform.”  

Inflation’s impact

Despite rising costs, 40% of those surveyed do not plan to change their drink-buying behaviors in 2024 due to inflation, the company notes. This reflects an increase over the previous year, when 35% of consumers expressed a similar sentiment, it says.

Further, among survey respondents, only 19% anticipate buying less alcohol overall in response to inflation, compared with 28% the previous year, according to Drizly.

Nevertheless, consumers are slightly more inclined to look for deals in 2024, the company notes.

Yet, where inflation softened the premiumization trend last year, demand for premium beverages isn’t going anywhere — and in certain categories, it’s growing, it says.