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[Liquor Store Industry Analysis] Top 10 Liquor Store Trends to Know in 2023

As a liquor store owner, you know how quickly the industry can change, and how competitive it is.

Every day, you're battling against big box retailers and online marketplaces, all vying for your customer's attention and dollars. But you also know that the key to success is staying ahead of the curve. 

That's why you're always on the lookout for the latest trends and insights that can give you an edge over your competition. How do you know which trends you should get ahead of to keep going strong this year? We did some digging so you wouldn’t have to.

From the rise of online sales to the growing popularity of craft spirits, we'll break down what you need to know to stay ahead of the curve and give yourself the best chance of success in 2023.

The Most Valuable Beverage and Package Store Trends

We’re going to present the best opportunities for liquor stores based on our industry expertise — however, keep in mind that not all of these trends may be worthwhile for your small business.

We did the heavy lifting, but it’s up to you to dive into your liquor store’s reports and analytics. Before making any huge changes to inventory or processes, be sure you understand the pros and cons of making them.

Related: Liquor Inventory Software: Top 5 POS Providers for 2023

As a small business, you know that not every shot will hit the mark. But trying new things, taking risks, and getting ahead of what’s trending is part of the fun!

  1. Consumers to Explore and Revisit Flavors
  2. Larger Liquor and Beer Purchases 
  3. At-Home Cocktail Parties Continue
  4. More Package Store Tablets
  5. E-Commerce Alcohol Purchasing, Pickup, and Delivery
  6. Ready-to-Drink Cocktails (RTDs) Gain Popularity
  7. Low- and No-ABV Beverages
  8. Contactless and Mobile Payments Are the Norm
  9. Increased Demand for Craft and Small-Batch Spirits
  10. Growing Popularity of Hard Seltzers

1. Consumers to Explore and Revisit Flavors

Out with the old, in with the new? It’s actually a bit of both!

Consumers are exploring bolder and spicier flavors in places like L.A. Depending on where they live, the culture of a city influences cocktail choice too. Whereas places like New York have seen a rise in nostalgic drinks like martinis, negronis, highballs, and old fashioneds.

Yet, classic and simpler cocktails have staying power, with the daiquiri, margarita, and bloody mary the top-ordered cocktails in the world.

2. Larger Liquor and Beer Purchases 

This year, consumers will still opt for higher-than-ever average transactions when making alcohol purchases.

Why is that? It’s simple, really. People want to make the least number of trips as possible, so when they make their liquor store run, they’re reaching for larger liquor bottles and cases of beer instead of six packs.

When it comes to stocking your liquor store, shift your focus away from travel-sized bottles and smaller products. Instead, make sure large handles of top-selling liquor are in stock. (If you need help managing your inventory, check out our guide for stocking tips and tricks!)

For those who prefer beer or wine, give mix-and-match promotions a shot. Allow customers to build their own six pack of craft beer or choose three different bottles of wine for a percentage discount off the total.

This way, your customers are stocking up on what they love and getting to try something new — which can keep them coming back if they love it!

3. At-Home Cocktail Parties Continue

Many consumers are opting for at-home creations this year. Most cocktails are pretty easy to make on your own, so why spend more money having someone else make your drink, anyways?

This is another inventory-related trend, but if it makes sense for your liquor store, consider bringing in more products that speak to the at-home cocktail drinkers.

You may already offer mixers, aromatic bitters, and unique ingredients for some of the most-loved concoctions, but if you don’t, now’s the time try.

Maybe you add maraschino cherries and margarita salt to your stock to start. See how sales of these products go, and then kick it up a notch if they’re a hit. Some fun non-ingredient products to add are cocktail shakers, alcoholic beverage recipe books, and glassware.

4. More Package Store Tablets

Does your package store utilize tablets?

Using tablets allows your staff to check people out in different spots throughout your store. You can alleviate the checkout line by completing tablet transactions with customers who have smaller-sized purchases.

And if you offer curbside pickup, your employee can walk up to the customer’s car with their purchase and check them out using a tablet, too.

Don’t miss out on sales because you’re not getting people in and out of your liquor store fast enough. Nowadays, there’s no bigger turn-off than a long line of people in a small space.

5. E-Commerce Alcohol Purchasing, Pickup, and Delivery

It’s natural for consumers to order anything online these days, and alcohol is no different. People like to order online, and either have alcohol delivered or go and pick it up from the store.

In 2021 alone, the number of DoorDash alcohol orders was 5.2 million, and it’s continuing to rise.

You know that alcohol sales are heavily regulated. So if e-commerce is a path you want to take for your liquor store, make sure you have legal experts on hand to ensure your efforts are compliant.

You'll also have to determine which e-commerce platform to use. It is crucial your platform of choice integrates with your liquor store's POS system. The last thing you want is to add more inventory work by using an e-commerce platform that's separate from your liquor store POS.

Related: Liquor Store E-Commerce 101: How to Sell Liquor Online

6. Ready-to-Drink Cocktails (RTDs) Gain Popularity

Here's why this liquor store trend is one to jump on immediately: the ready-to-drink cocktail market is expected to expand from an $853 million market in 2022 to a $2.4 billion market by 2030.

Why? The biggest reason is a change in attitudes about health and alcohol. Health-conscious consumers want lower alcohol beverages that are "healthier" for them and taste great.

Large beverage companies have already taken note, with many of them introducing seltzer and RTD cocktail product lines to compete with popular seltzers like White Claw and Truly. 

What does this mean for you as a liquor store owner? Be on the lookout for new canned cocktails and hard seltzers, teas, coffees, and kombucha to add to your inventory to align with new consumer desires. 

Once you have them, you can use your liquor store's POS system to put together bundles and create promotions for your RTD beverage selection.

7. Low- and No-ABV Beverages

These types of beverages are popular for the same reasons as RTDs: a large portion of consumers have become more health-conscious. In 2021, no- and low-ABV beer, cider, spirits, wine, and RTDs grew to comprise 3.5 percent ($10 billion) of the volume share of the alcoholic beverage industry. 

Consumers are looking for low-ABV or even non-alcoholic beverages that still provide the same "can-in-hand" satisfaction without the caloric load of full-flavored beers and cocktails. 

As a liquor store owner, expanding your low- and no-ABV beverage selection can help reach new customers and increase average purchase value. 

8. Contactless and Mobile Payments Are the Norm

As you may already know, mobile and contactless payments have been on the rise. And completing transactions without any touching is more important than ever.

It’s recommended to use a pinpad that allows customers to make a purchase by tapping their phone or credit card on the device. 

Consumers are loving this trend because they’re not handing their smartphones or credit cards off to someone else. Your staff is less at risk, too, since there’s less passing back and forth. 

If your liquor store is using tablets, find a way to eliminate the need for customers to touch them. Electronic signatures are being phased out, which is a great first step. If you have no choice but to utilize a card swipe on your tablet, consider letting the customer swipe their own card without touching the device.

With sanitation precautions at an all-time high, contactless pay is a game changer — especially since consumers have the option to do all of their shopping online.

9. Increased Demand for Craft and Small-Batch Spirits 

With the growing trend of quality over quantity, young consumers are becoming more interested in unique and high-quality spirits that are produced by smaller, independent distillers.

In fact, the global crafts spirit is expected to grow to $66.04 billion in 2026 at a compound annual growth rate of 30.6%.

Local distilleries are sourcing ingredients and preparing fruit infusions and uniquely flavored spirits. It’s worth looking into partnerships with local distilleries and running cross-promotions. You can use your POS system to print custom labels and notify customers of new product ranges.

10. Growing Popularity of Hard Seltzers

Hard seltzers are a type of alcoholic beverage that is made with fermented sugar and flavored with fruit or other natural ingredients and is growing more popular.

They’re gluten-free and low in calories, carbohydrates, and sugar, so for consumers who are health-conscious, they’re a popular choice.

You can introduce new drinks slowly and track sales using robust POS reporting. You’ll quickly see trends in which flavors are popular and which aren’t.

Interested in additional features that could benefit your liquor store? Check out the top features we recommend having at your beverage or package store in the video below:

HubSpot Video


How to Utilize Our Liquor Store Industry Analysis to Get Ahead

Doing industry research, checking in on business reports and analytics, and taking risks all contribute to running a successful liquor store.

When you stay up-to-date with trends and changing consumer preferences, you give yourself more chance of getting ahead of your competition. Imagine if your store is the go-to place for hard seltzers. You’ll be on-trend, and the first place customers think of.

Our team of experts has helped thousands of liquor store owners like you master small business management, increase sales, and create happier customers.

If you’re looking for other ways to stand out among your competitors, check out The Guide to Liquor Store Inventory Management. You can also take our POS system for a spin by scheduling a free demo!


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