As travel levels begin to reach pre-pandemic levels, many are feeling inspired to hit the road again—taking with them a desire to enjoy drinks that match the vibe of their vacation, rather than something familiar. Drizly, an alcohol e-commerce and on-demand delivery platform, just released its Consumer Trend Report, where 1,000 Americans were polled to see how—and what—they’ll be drinking this summer. Turns out that many feel more inspired and adventurous in their drink choices while on vacation, looking for something out of the ordinary.
Nearly half of all Americans cheat on their go-to drinks when on vacation, as this year’s survey revealed. They are opting for choices that suit the mood of their destination, rather than their usual drink of choice. And when they’re ordering a beverage, vacationers are more likely to step out of their comfort zone: 79% of respondents said they usually buy drinks that feel more like a vacation (e.g. tropical cocktails on a beach), or that are produced locally, far outpacing their usual go-tos.
So what are the trending vacation beverages? We got in touch with Liz Paquette, head of consumer insights at Drizly to find out. Based on Drizly’s report, “consumer preferences when it comes to summer vacation markets—including the Hamptons, Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket—lean towards lighter-style drinks, from vodka to Champagne,” Paquette says.
She goes on to explain liquor’s status in the trend report: “Liquor was a bestseller last summer, ranking No. 1 in total share of Drizly sales in the Hamptons and No. 2 in Cape Cod. Across markets, whiskey, vodka and tequila were the most popular liquor subcategories, and vodka over-indexed in weekend destinations compared to New York City and Boston. Ready-to-drink cocktails were another popular drink in weekend destinations last summer.”
When it comes to wine, the study discovered something surprising: Gen Z wants more red wine. While hard seltzer, ready-to-drink cocktails and tequila show no signs of falling off Gen Z’s radar, it came as a surprise to discover that the nation’s youngest legal drinkers will be buying more red wine this year. “Red wine topped the list of drinks Gen Z plans to buy more this year, with 38% of the cohort saying so,” says Paquette. “That topped all other alcoholic beverages, including tequila (36%), vodka (32%), hard seltzer (26%), rosé (24%) and ready-to-drink cocktails (23%).”
Wine is a popular choice among summer crowds across all age groups, accounting for 46% of total Drizly sales in the Hamptons last summer, and 52% of share in Cape Cod. Consumers in vacation markets were especially drawn to lighter, summer-friendly subcategories, including Champagne, sparkling wine and rosé. Compared to New York City in 2021, the Hamptons over-indexed on white wine and rosé during the summer period, while Cape Cod over-indexed on bubbles and rosé compared to Boston in 2021 overall, according to Paquette.
The study also revealed that travelers like to imbibe local flavors—beverages produced in the destination—to get a true taste of the place. “In the Hamptons, Montauk Brewing Co. took the No. 5 position while Loverboy, a hard iced tea brand created by a cast member from the Hamptons-based reality TV show Summer House took No. 13,” Paquette says. “Likewise, in Cape Cod, Nantucket-based Cisco Brewers ranked third among the market’s top 10 beer brands.”
One rising trend that Drizly believes will continue to spill over into vacation drink consumption is the preference for ready-to-drink cocktails. During the height of the pandemic, many Americans tried their hand at mixology and at-home bartending. But now, ready-to-drink cocktails, which are booming, could reverse that 2020 trend. When asked which canned drinks they’ll be buying this year, survey responses showed that interest in ready-to-drink cocktails topped the list, outpacing hard seltzer, lager, IPA and hard kombucha. “As ready-to-drink cocktails have been embraced as an ‘on-the-go’ product category that is well-suited to the beach and outdoors activities, this could contribute to a potential increase in consumers sipping on RTDs during their vacations this year,” Paquette says. Cheers to that.