2017 Mid-Year Alcohol Industry Trends Report

Jun. 29, 2017

Every year, the alcohol industry experiences exciting – and sometimes surprising – consumer behaviors and tastes, and these trends shape the way the trade goes about its business.

Breakthru strives to keep tabs on these trends, and last winter, we tapped our own Breakthru experts to make 2017 industry predictions – a few of which have already come to fruition.

As we sit here in July already halfway through the bottle that is 2017, we’ve already enjoyed a full pour of exciting alcohol industry trends, including:


But there is so much more bubbling at the bar this year, so we checked back in with our experts – one from each of Breakthru’s 15 markets – to take the temperature on what’s trending with today’s alcohol consumer.

2017 Alcohol Trends: Mid-Year Report

Frozen Drinks

“Frosé has launched the frozen drink revival. From margaritas and daiquiris to high-end frozen craft cocktails, this trend is popping up across the valley.”

Lindsey Casey
Account Development Specialist
Breakthru Arizona

Spiked Root Beer

“Spiked Root Beer sales are spiking throughout Canada. We’ve seen sales growth of over 1,200% throughout the category. RTDs are seeing huge growth this year, and Root Beer is leading the way.”

Kevin Douglas
Business Analyst
Breakthru Canada


“Radlers are quickly becoming a trend in the Colorado market. Digging back to the roots of European classics, local breweries are recreating this thirst quenching, refreshing European staple. Tart, fruity and crushable.”

Stephanie Holub
Account Development Specialist
Breakthru Colorado

Canned Craft Beer

“Sales of canned craft beers are up 38% in retail accounts and up 90% in on-premise. Retail consumers love the portability and recyclability of cans, and find them easier to chill. Bars, restaurants and bowling alleys are winning big with canned bucket programs.”

George Fresolone
Senior Business Manager
Breakthru Delaware

Provence Rosé

“Still rosé wine sales are growing at 67% in value for BBG Florida. While we have added a significant amount of both domestic and imported rosé wines, most of our still rosé wine sales continue to be French and the preferred French rosé is Provence.”

Alan Paquette
Vice President of Wine
Breakthru Florida

New England IPAs

“The current hot IPA variant is what’s known as the New England IPA. New England, or East Coast IPAs, are characterized by a more murky, hazy appearance, a softer mouth-feel, and, as opposed to the West Coast style, East Coast IPAs tend to have more pronounced hop aroma and flavor without the sharp bitter finish.”

Sally Selwan
Craft Beer Specialist
Breakthru Illinois

Alternative Mules

“We’re seeing accounts starting to switch up the traditional Mule cocktail with alternative bases, especially whiskey.”

Paul Wilson
Marketing Manager
Breakthru Maryland

Hard Seltzers

“Hard seltzers like Truly and White Claw are on a tear here in Minnesota. Who would have thought that consumers would want 5% alcohol in their sparkling water?”

Corey Rung
Beer Sales Manager, On Premise
Breakthru Minnesota

French Table Wine

“French table wine sales have spiked in the first half of the year, with an increase of 17.9% nationally. In Nevada, we have experienced and even larger increase of 22%. At Breakthru, we are very proud to represent the category leader for French table wines, Louis Jadot, which represents one-third of the French table wine business in Nevada.”

Shalom Davidson
Market Manager
Breakthru Nevada

Draft Cocktails

“We’re seeing a huge spike in accounts jumping on board with our cocktails on tap program. It provides consistent quality cocktails in a high-speed environment that also helps reduce an account’s liquor costs and enables better inventory tracking.”

John Oliver
Marketing Director
Breakthru New Jersey

Irish Whiskey

“Irish whiskey is growing rapidly right now in Pennsylvania. We’re excited to have some major players in this trend. Tullamore DEW is the second biggest brand in the category and now we’ve added the recently released Slane Irish Whiskey – Brown-Forman’s newest member of the family.”

Ryan Welsh
Business Manager
Breakthru Pennsylvania

Local Products

“One trend is the growth of localized spirits. Our largest and fastest-growing South Carolina produced product is Dixie Vodka from Grain & Barrel located in Charleston, SC. Columbia’s Copper Horse has shown tremendous growth since the distillery opened in 2014. Greenville’s Dark Corner Distillery grew 75% last year.”

David Schumacher
Elite Division Manager – Retail
Breakthru South Carolina

Gin Cocktails

"Gin has been trending locally all year, and that will continue since July is the month of the Rickey, which is a cocktail originated here in D.C. Though the Rickey was originally made with bourbon whiskey, D.C. bartenders are capitalizing on the gin trend by highlighting the Gin Rickey on area menus."

Jessica Simpson
Trade Marketing Manager
Breakthru Washington, D.C.

New Sour and Wild Ales

“Consumers this year have been excited about sour and wild ales. We’ve noticed a lot more attention towards these styles—particularly those that are packaged in smaller sizes. Recent availability outside of the traditional 750ml or 22oz package makes these beers much more accessible, affordable, approachable and convenient than before, and consumers are responding positively.”

Justin Cantoni
Craft Beer Sales Manager
Breakthru Wisconsin

Esoteric Regions

“On-premise wine and spirits are trending away from the traditional towards the unique. Eclectic locations paired with one-of-a-kind drink experiences are attracting today’s consumers.”

Scott Wilkes
Vice President, On Premise
Breakthru Virginia

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