On Sunday of last week, the seasonal dial switched from spring to summer, and with it arrived nearly everyone’s favorite time to take a vacation, sit back in their favorite chair in the warm weather, and enjoy the drink of their choice.
However, the rising levels of comfort in traveling and dining out don’t necessarily translate to increased libations. Most of the general population who drink alcohol (65%) report that they will be drinking just about as much as they usually do during the summer, while just over one-fifth report they will drink less.
Although, when we look at this across how employment status was impacted by the pandemic, we see that those who remained employed (whether working in-person or remotely) expect to drink more than usual this summer, as compared to people in other job situations.
On the other hand, generally speaking, data show an increase in people drinking less than they normally would.
Towards the end of spring and beginning of summer, beer consumption gradually rose from 50% to 54%.
Dark spirits, meanwhile, experienced a surge of popularity in the colder months of December and January, only to flatline as it warms.
And these trends are even more apparent when the data looks at what the of-age population prefers to drink in the summer.
Beer is by far the most popular, followed by mixed drinks (rum and Coke or vodka and soda, for example) and cocktails (like margaritas or daiquiris).
If you break down these preferences by where people live, some clear trends become apparent.
Beer is more popular in suburban and rural areas, while mixed drinks over-index in city areas. And even though hard seltzers are equally popular in all areas, cocktails find more love among surburbanites.
But as every good bartender knows, summer drinks are subject to fads that come and go. Over the years, trends have included high-alcohol IPAs, spiked seltzers, rosé wine, frozen cocktails, and others. Lately, and likely as a response to the pandemic limiting access to bars, canned cocktails have come into vogue.
Nearly one-quarter of U.S. adults 21 or older have tried the new offerings, with another 7% intending to. For reference, those who have tried hard seltzer are currently just over one-third (36%) of the drinking-age population, indicating that there is room for canned cocktails to grow as visibility increases.
In any case, the CivicScience data show that while fun, trendy drinks are just that: trendy. And they are just as likely to fade as quickly as they come.
Only a small percentage of drinkers will get really into trends, while just over a quarter (26%) will give them a try, before returning to what they already enjoy. This desire to give trendy drinks a try is much more present among Millennials and older Gen Zers, though there is little appetite to get really involved in trends at any age.
This suggests that canned cocktails have an uphill battle if they want to remain relevant. But the good news is, they have a model to follow in spiked seltzers (such as White Claw, Truly, and others), which rose to prominence in 2018 and have stayed on the scene since. Check back in next week for a deeper dive into spiked seltzer.