St. Patrick’s Day has the long-standing reputation for being the biggest single day for US alcohol consumption. COVID-19 put a damper on celebrations in 2020 – as that week coincided with the “pandemic” declaration and large scale stay at home orders being imposed nationwide.
Behaviors during St. Patrick’s Day week 2020 began reflecting what few of us would have predicted to be a year-plus “new normal”: large gathers were banned, bars and nightclubs were closed, restaurants shifted to take-out and delivery, concerts and sporting events became virtual, work and study moved to “at home” and where and how we shopped for our essentials, including alcoholic beverages, shifted. Many shoppers started panic-buying that week, stock-piling products including their favorite adult beverages.
Even with the “perfect storm” of unprecedented change – National Retail Solutions Network of Independent Merchants that sold alcoholic beverages saw a discernable lift of “IRISH” alcoholic products during the week of St. Patrick’s Day 2020. In fact, “IRISH” SKUS increased by 118% versus the average weekly dollar sales of those items in February 2020 while the week prior saw a 20% lift. The NRS Network of inner-city independent stores saw a dollar lift of 30% across total Beer/Wine/Spirits during that week – an increase that not only remained but continued to grow throughout the year. In 2020, total dollar sales of Alcoholic Beverages were up 28% over 2019 in NRS stores.
Fast forward to St. Patrick’s Day 2021. This year, across the NRS Network, “Irish” adult beverages enjoyed a 70% increase in dollar sales the week of St. Patrick’s Day versus the average weekly sales in February 2021. The week leading into St. Patrick’s Day enjoyed a 30% lift, likely capturing those sales of folks celebrating the weekend before St. Patrick’s Day “proper”. The panic-buying has stopped. The stockpiling is over. Whether we like it or not, we are used to our new normal. And that new normal still involves celebrating St. Patrick’s Day – one way or another. And for many that means with an “Irish” alcoholic beverage that we bought at the C-Store or Bodega just around the corner.
Of the 2021 “Irish” Alcoholic Beverages purchased during the St. Patrick’s Day window, 66% were Irish Whiskey, 23% were Beer/FMB/Cider and 10% were Cordial Creams.
At the Brand-level, the usual suspects, Jameson, Guinness and Baileys were responsible for the majority of sales. However not to be overlooked were Proper No Twelve and Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey and Mangers Cider. The top selling SKU was Jameson Blend Triple Distilled 80 PRF 750 ML with an impressive 23% of the “Irish” alcohol dollar sales.