Private label alcohol category powered by seltzer, cocktails, and local beer

Industry experts from Rouses Market and The Giant Company talked about what's fueling the alcoholic beverage category at the Sept. 29 Store Brands Industry Forum on Beverages, now on demand for viewing.
Zachary Russell
Associate Editor
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Julie Joy

The private label alcoholic beverage category is as strong as ever, according to experts at the Store Brands Industry Forum on Beverages held virtually on Sept. 29, with newer beverages other than beer and wine leading the way.

The forum provided retailers a chance to listen and connect with private label industry experts. Hosted by Store Brands executive editor Dan Ochwat, the beverage forum consisted of four sections: coffee and tea, dairy, nonalcoholic beverages and alcoholic beverages.

The event, now available on demand, began with a keynote addressand a discussion on private label coffee and tea, followed by the dairy portion of the forum, then the nonalcoholic beverage segment, and concluding with the alcoholic beverage section. To finish off the forum, Ochwat spoke with Julie Joy, director of beer, wine & spirits at Rouses Market, and Darla Reig, director of DSD, and beer, wine & ethnic at The Giant Company.

According to both speakers, drinks other than beer and wine have dominated the own brand alcohol category. In addition, both Rouses Market and The Giant Company have partnered with local breweries to fuel their own brand alcohol sales.

“The seltzer craze has taken over the beer category, as well as canned cocktails or anything that’s fruity or sparkling,” said Joy. “It’s amazing how you can find so many different ways to have alcohol now. Frozen pops, jello shots, they’re all on our shelves. It’s never-ending when it comes to new ways to market alcohol. We like to try it all, and our customers are very open to trying it with us.”

a person smiling for the camera
Darla Reig

“As we were at the height of the pandemic, we saw an increase in consumption with customers buying more boxed wine or twin pack wine,” said Reig. “Customers are celebrating any time they can and are enjoying the sparkling category. We’ve seen a lot of success in frozen, with frozen pops and wine slushies in our stores. Customers are willing to try any flavor of seltzer that we can put out there.”

Despite the increase in the category, nonalcoholic beer and wine and ‘mocktails’ are also seeing a spike in sales as consumers seek new ways to celebrate. 

“Customers are buying more non-alcoholic beer and wine than they ever have before,” said Reig. “We market it with our alcoholic offerings so customers can purchase either/or. The trends in those segments are really growing.”

Those already registered for the Store Brands Industry Forum on Beverages can watch a webcast of the panel here, and it is available on demand for any non-registered viewer as well.