Drizly reveals best-selling Bourbons

Beam Suntory-owned Maker’s Mark surpassed Bulleit as the top-selling Bourbon brand on US e-commerce platform Drizly last year.

Online alcohol platform Drizly has revealed its Bevalc Insights’ 2023 Bourbon Forecast report, including the top 10 best-selling Bourbon brands on the platform in 2022.

The biggest-selling list has remained relatively stable, Drizly said, however there were several changes. Maker’s Mark stole the top spot last year from Diageo-owned Bulleit, and Angel’s Envy replaced Knob Creek in the 10th position.

Drizly’s 10 best-selling brands in order were: Maker’s Mark, Bulleit, Woodford Reserve, Jim Beam, Basil Hayden’s, Four Roses, Blanton’s, Evan Williams, Buffalo Trace and Angel’s Envy.

Drizly noted that many of the top-selling brands have products at several price points to capitalise on the sale of premium and super-premium bottles.

The platform also revealed its top 15 fastest-growing Bourbons in 2022, with Kentucky distiller Four Roses taking the top three spots for its core variant in number one, followed by its small batch and single barrel bottlings. Four Roses also took sixth spot for its Small Batch Select.

Michter’s US 1 Kentucky Straight Bourbon held the fourth position, while Maker’s French Oaked 46 was in fifth place.

In 2022, Bourbon was the fourth-largest subcategory sold on Drizly, after red wine, white wine, and vodka.

Within whisky, Bourbon was the top-selling subcategory in 2022 with a 39% share of whisky sales on Drizly.

Over the past five years, Drizly said Bourbon has steadily grown, holding a 36% share in 2018, 37% share in 2019, 39% share in 2020, and 38% share in 2021.

The only other whisky subcategory that saw share gains in the past year was Canadian whisky, Drizly noted.

“Bourbon has been on an upward growth trajectory and continued to grow year-on-year in both volume and value terms even during the pandemic,” said Brandy Rand, chief strategy officer at IWSR Drinks Market Analysis.

“The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for Bourbon in the US between 2016 and 2021 was plus-8% in volume terms and plus-11% in value as more premium offerings gain share.

“The continued rise of cocktail culture has helped broaden the appeal of the category to more consumers as well.”

Premiumisation boost

Rand noted that premiumisation is driving the Bourbon category: “Value growth is outpacing volume growth which indicates a higher spending trend.”

Last year saw the highest average unit price for Bourbon on Drizly over the past five years at US$40.48, an increase of 16.3% from US$34.65 in 2018.

“In recent years, Bourbon has been one of the liquor subcategories most impacted by premiumisation,” said Liz Paquette, Drizly’s head of consumer insights.

“The average unit price continues to grow year-over-year. Additionally, all the price ranges from US$50 and above have gained share year-over-year over the lower price ranges.”

Higher-priced Bourbons have reported notable growth every year, Drizly noted. The share of bottles priced at US$100 or more rose from a 10.5% share in 2021 to a 12.2% share last year.

Bottles in the US$60-US$70 price bracket went from a 7% share to a 7.7% share; and the US$50-US$60 segment now has a 14% share, up from 12.7%.

Meanwhile, the share of Bourbon sales on Drizly in every price range under US$50 has decreased.

In 2022, millennials made up the largest share of the segment’s sales (52%) followed by Gen X (33%), baby boomers (13%), and Gen Z (2%).

The top markets for Bourbon on the Drizly platform in 2022 were: Dallas, Chicago, Washington DC, Atlanta, Houston, and Austin.

Bourbon forecast

The IWSR predicts that the CAGR for Bourbon will be plus-5% in volume and plus-8% in value between 2021 and 2026.

“IWSR forecasts Bourbon sales to increase in 2023,” said Rand. “In 2016, Bourbon held 26% volume share of the whisky market in the US. In 2021, this had grown to a 30% share and IWSR forecasts it to grow to a 31% share by 2026.

“The level of investment by multinationals in Bourbon production and storage facilities in order to meet growing demand points to a very positive future.”

Casamigos was the top-selling Tequila and celebrity-backed spirits brand on US alcohol e-commerce platform Drizly last year.

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Author: Nicola Carruthers