Top Alcoholic Beverage Trends of 2021
Many of the most popular trends we saw over the last year were not exactly what “industry experts” had anticipated. With that being said, the alcoholic drink market was no exception. Our favorite drinks and even drink-related experiences took on a new form in 2020 and into 2021.
But hey, some drinks are better with a twist, right?
Check out some of the most popular alcoholic drinks and trends to take advantage of through the rest of the year and beyond.
#1 Hard Seltzers in Bars (And Backyards)
If you thought you weren’t seeing hard seltzers enough in the grocery markets and liquor stores, just wait until they’re on the menu of your local bar.
Hard seltzer trends aren’t going away any time soon. In fact, the popular alcoholic drinks are only getting bigger.
With the introduction of high-end ingredients, elevated flavors, and sophisticated processes, hard seltzers are stepping into the “craft” side of the alcoholic drink market. Many anticipate seeing their favorite hard seltzers in their go-to bars and pubs next to their favorite whiskey, rum, and gin. The seltzer could potentially even be on tap in the near future.
#2 Ready-to-Drink Beverages (Beyond Beer, Cider, and Seltzers)
Next to seltzers on the proverbial shelf would be ready-to-drink beverages, usually bought in six-packs or cases to be individually enjoyed. The mixed drink shares many similarities with ciders, seltzers, and coolers, but come in a larger variety. This may be why ready-to-drink cocktail sales spiked the most in March 2020 with a boost of 106%.1
The ever-growing list of canned cocktail drinks and mixed drink concoctions includes the:
- Mai Tai
- Old Fashioned Whiskey
- Classic Mimosa
- Sparkling Paloma
- Vodka Lemonade
- Lime and Lemon juice Margarita
- Espresso Martini
- Bellini Spritz
- Vodka Soda with fresh lime juice
- Bloody Mary
- Moscow Mule
- Long Island Iced Tea
- Strawberry Daiquiri
- Sweet Vermouth
You can buy just about any sweet cocktail in a canned or bottled version now. The canned cocktail serving size is a major bonus for anyone that enjoys the sweet cocktail experience without the cocktail effort, meaning you can enjoy high-quality beverages without a mixology degree or a trip to the bar.
#3 Alcoholic Popsicles As More Than a Summertime Treat
Drinking is all about having fun—what better way to add some enjoyment to your experience than with a delicious boozy popsicle? (Hint: there is no better way.)
Alcoholic ice pops combine the taste and sophistication of your favorite refreshing cocktail with the fun and freedom of a slushy or frozen treat. If you’re a big fan of a chilled whiskey cocktail on a sunny day, just imagine pulling out a whiskey ice pop without the hassle of making it yourself or having a bartender prepare it for you. Plus, they just so happen to satisfy the ongoing obsession with the to-go lifestyle—they’re conveniently available in your freezer whenever you’re ready to sit back and enjoy.
Much like the hard seltzers that came before them, they’re usually low in calories and high in fun, coming in a variety of liquor-flavor combinations just like a ready-to-drink tropical cocktail.
#4 DIY Cocktail Kits to Bring the Fun Home to You
Whether on the menu of a local restaurant or an online eCommerce platform, cocktail kits have become all the rage this year. Not only are they an easy way to enjoy close-to-bartender-level cocktails, but they also put the power in your hands and help you learn a new skill. And unless you were thinking about getting that mixology degree, you may not have much experience creating dazzling cocktails.
Now, you have easy-to-follow instructions on your side.
The best cocktail kits come with just about everything you need to mix and sip into your cocktail glass, though some don’t include all the equipment and special fixings. If you’re a novice mixologist, check for a kit that comes with a cocktail shaker, strainer, muddler—the works!
#5 Tequila and Mezcal On The Rise as Spirit of Choice
Mexican spirits haven’t exactly blown up overnight, but they have been steadily increasing in popularity over the last few years—in 2021, they seem to have reached new highs. And while tequila has long been a fan favorite, lesser-known spirits like mezcal and its variants seem to be basking in the limelight (with a twist of lime juice, to boot).
Here are some of the best and brightest mezcal and tequila cocktails to help you get in on this 2021 trend:
- Mezcal Martinez
- Walking Stick
- Rising Sun
- The Little Devil
- Tequila Sunrise
- Tequila Collins
And of course, the Classic Margarita with a lime wedge, or its mezcal counterpart, the Mezcalita. Be sure to check out our margarita ice pops that come with three delicious flavors if you’re looking for an icy twist on the classic drink.
#6 Online Alcohol Sales as a Major Revenue Channel
2020 was the year that just about everything became available for sale online. 2021, then, is the year that people realize just how much better their lives have become thanks to the convenience. What was once a necessary adjustment is now a part of life, with increasing popularity—in fact, the U.S. saw a 133% bump in eCommerce alcohol sales last year.2
Wrapped up in online alcohol sales is another sub-trend: direct-to-consumer pipelines. These two trends combined have made many of your favorite cans, bottles, and popsicles more affordable and accessible. And that’s a development with some serious staying power.
SLIQ Spirited Ice: The Trend Worth Trying
Of all the emerging alcohol trends, boozy popsicles should top your “to-try” list. SLIQ pops come in three top-shelf liquors, each with three delectable flavors, so you can please the entire party. Margarita ice pops make any taco Tuesday memorable, rum ice pops make any day a visit to the beach, and vodka freeze pops bring a touch of class and sophistication to any gathering.
These premium frozen treats are just the thing to elevate your drinking experience—and while they’re certainly on-trend at the moment, their quality ingredients and superior flavors are made to last.
- CNN Business. Booze sales are booming as people stockpile alcohol… but it may not last. https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/01/business/alcohol-sales-coronavirus-trnd/index.html
- World Beer & Spirits. Online Alcohol Sales Soar 33% in 2020. https://worldbeerandspirits.com/2021/05/28/online-alcohol-sales-soar-33-in-2020/