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Spirits continue to lead wine and beer in Nielsen Off-Premise AlcBev sales

Overview: Nielsen COVID-19 insights and analysis

Nielsen CGA: COVID-19: Measuring the On Premise Impact


Unless otherwise noted, all trends below are for dollar sales within Nielsen U.S. off-premise channels for the one-week period ending 6/20/20 compared to the same week in 2019. We continue to remind our readers that we are only measuring some specific off premise channels, and that the impact of the health crisis on sales is uneven across companies in the alcohol industry.


The year-over-year growth rate for total off-premise alcohol dollar sales within Nielsen measured channels is +25.4%.


  • Spirits again led growth, +39.5%.

  • Wine was +23.7%.

  • Beer/FMB/cider growth is +21.2%.

The following two graphics reflect the year-over-year change in dollar sales for the pre-COVID, ~full pandemic (16-week period ending 6/20/20) and recent one-week periods. The second graphic also includes year-over-year change in volume sales over the full pandemic period.



In the words of Danny Brager, Senior Vice President of Beverage Alcohol at Nielsen: “With the July 4 holiday and long weekend almost here (typically more of an off-premise holiday), along with a string of pauses and closures caused by rising COVID-19 cases in many parts of the country, we should expect to see strong off premise growth rates in the next couple of weeks.”



Beer/FMB/cider dollar sales in Nielsen measured off premise channels grew +21.2% in the most recent week vs year ago, just slightly above last week’s +20.3% gains. For COVID year-to-date, off premise beer/FMB/cider is 21.4% in dollars. Core beer (excluding FMBs, seltzers, and ciders) is up 13.1% for the latest 16 weeks compared to year ago.


Drivers of growth are consistent with previous weeks, with seltzers +234%, super premium +22.3%, FMBs +19.3%. The seltzer segment had its fifth consecutive week in dollar share >10% of the total category.


Craft also had a strong week, up 17.1%.


Wine dollar sales in Nielsen measured off premise channels grew +23.8% in the most recent week vs year ago, up from +20.1% the last week. The increases were led by Table Wine price tiers $20+.


Spirits in particular had a very strong week, up 39.5%, representing the strongest individual week’s growth since the week of Cinco de Mayo. Ready-to-drink cocktails and tequila were the leading off premise growth drivers, up 172% and 82% respectively. However, they weren’t the only categories fueling spirits off premise remarkable growth, as nearly every category in spirits grew 30% or higher for the latest week.