Industry Data: Fall Alcohol Retail Sales Dragged

As part of our ongoing tracking of the industry, the Beverage Information Group surveys our readers quarterly, collecting trends/sentiment data from distributors, on-premise and off-premise operators. For our most recent study, conducted in September 2023, whiskey remains the category most impacting the business, both on- and off-premise.

Tequila is still strong for retailers, but it’s faded a bit for the bars and restaurants surveyed. Craft beer, meanwhile, is hot on-premise, but not so much off-premise; in fact, domestic beer is selling better than craft in stores. Vodka sales were strong among both on- and off-premise operators.

Wine sales overall faltered in the off-premise, according to respondents. Both restaurants and stores report that sales of white wine had increased, not surprising in the summer months. But the plurality of retail respondents said that rosé sales had slipped in the quarter, which is unusual considering the seasonal popularity of pink wines and the many new entrants to the market.

The economy continued to hurt demand on- and off-premise, but the plurality of bar and restaurant respondents say Covid concerns are still suppressing demand. Yet most of the on-premise operators said that their most recent quarterly beverage sales were above or on plan, while most of the retailers said that they were on or below plan.

That would explain why retailers rated their satisfaction as an operator/business executive lower than the restaurants, based on current conditions as well as based on a one- to two-year outlook.

For more information about our beverage reader surveys and for pricing information about adding questions to upcoming surveys, contact Debbie Rittenberg at

Melissa Dowling is editor of Cheers magazine, our on-premise sister publication. Contact her at, and read her recent piece, Announcing The 2023 Beer Growth Brands Awards Winners.



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