How to sell alcohol online by taking advantage of 2022 beverage trends

Restaurants, learn how to sell alcohol online to benefit your bottom line. In this article, we dig into the top 5 adult beverage trends for 2022.

Restaurants, learn how to sell alcohol online to benefit your bottom line. In this article, we dig into the top 5 adult beverage trends for 2022. 

A drink & dinner, the most iconic duo of all time 

A delicious beverage and a great meal go together like…well… a delicious beverage and a great meal. This duo is more iconic than peanut butter & jelly, popcorn & butter, bread & butter  – you get what we mean. No great meal is complete without the beverage to match.  And when it comes to your restaurant’s bottom line, drinks drive a lot of revenue — booze typically generates between 20-25% of a restaurant’s total revenue in addition to the labor cost being low and the markup being high, alcohol sales often have the highest profit margin for restaurants. However, two factors will change the way your restaurant serves beverages & the beverages your restaurant serves. First, we’ll take a look at the pandemic’s impact on the way we order drinks, and second, we’ll dig into how our-ever changing customer preferences affect the beverages you serve. 

COVID-19’s impact on how your restaurant sells beverages 

In 2019, online alcohol sales represented just 1% of total off-premise orders, but by 2024, 7% of restaurant alcohol sales will occur online. To learn how to sell alcohol online at your restaurant, it’s essential to understand when & why customers started buying booze on the delivery apps. Likely driven by stay-at-home restrictions, 44% of consumers began buying alcohol online in 2020, compared to 19% in 2019. When we were forced to learn to “dine-out at home,” we became comfortable with “grabbing a cocktail” at home too. And your restaurant likely saw an increase in revenue because of it. 

Illustration of tequila bottle, cocktail, White Claw, champagne, and other drinks

Changing customer preferences impact what beverages your restaurant offers 

According to DoorDash, the top wines ordered throughout 2021 were Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Grigio, and Prosecco, and the top spirits included Casamigos Tequila, Tito’s Vodka, and Hennessy Cognac (Cheers!). However, as we start fresh in 2022, many are taking a month (or more) off of drinking in favor of some alternative adult beverages. After a lot of pandemic, holiday, and celebratory fuelled alcohol indulgences, many are ringing in the New Year by taking a break. This year, nearly 1 in 5 adults says they are participating in Dry January, up from 13% who said the same in 2021. But that doesn’t mean they’re not drinking beer, wine, or cocktails… they’re just opting for the non-alcoholic options! Now that the adult drinks industry offers an array of low/no ABV alternatives, 13% of adults 21 and older report that they plan to enjoy non-alcoholic beer, wine, or cocktails in January. So if you want to learn how to sell alcohol online, it’ll be worthwhile to learn how to sell non-alcoholic alcohol online too. If we lost you at non-alcoholic beer, wine & cocktails, don’t worry. We’ll explain more in our first trend below. 

We agree that selling drinks matters for your restaurant’s bottom line, but now that we know what we’re drinking & where we’re drinking, it is changing; how should your restaurant evolve its beverage offerings? In this article, we’ll dive into the top 5 alcohol trends your restaurant should pay attention to in 2022. 

Top 5 alcohol trends to pay attention to this year for your restaurant

Image of alternatives to alcohol

Trend 1: How to sell alcohol online to benefit your restaurant’s bottom line? Offer cheeky, fun, alcohol-free alternatives for sober-curious adults taking a month (or more!) off of booze. 

Whether from our friends or feeds, the buzz around “Dry January” —a commitment to an alcohol-free month—is real. There’s been a whopping 19% increase in members to this movement this year alone. Many are taking a “damp” rather than a “dry” approach, an indicator of a larger trend: the rise of the sober curious. More and more millennials and Gen Zers are evaluating their relationship to booze, with 56% identifying as “mindful drinkers.” Whether your customers are moderating or abstaining, it’s time to hop on the boozeless bandwagon. According to Nielson, the non-alcoholic spirits category is expected to expand by 35% by 2023, so if you’re not already offering delicious mocktails or healthier drinking alternatives, it’s time to get started!  Knowing that many turn to alcohol for social occasions, consider finding cute & flirty ways to market your booze-free menu options. P.S- Keep tabs on some key players for alcohol alternatives like CBD or Adaptogens infused beverages.

Illustration of champagne bottles

Trend 2:  How to sell alcohol online to benefit your restaurant’s bottom line? Provide gifting options for your alcohol menu items.

Special occasions often call for a night out to celebrate and almost always add alcohol to the equation. Drinking champagne to celebrate has practically become a global tradition, and just the sound of a popping cork is enough to mark a milestone. Gifting has experienced massive growth on Drizly; the category has increased 150% over the last two years, making up over 10% of orders. So how can your restaurant improve on the typical champagne toast? Offering gift boxes to help your guests cheer on any occasion is the ultimate way to make the event match the sentiment. Building special packages with bottled cocktails, sampler tests, cocktail kits, and even personalised bottles will elevate your diner’s gift-giving experience. 

Image of Truly and beer cans

Trend 3: How to sell alcohol online to benefit your restaurant’s bottom line? Plan promos, specials, deals, and more for the biggest drinking days of the year.

The past few years have been challenging for everyone, especially the restaurant industry. We all had to adapt to the new normal lifestyle, so it’s nice to find special days to celebrate and unwind with a drink—even on the most minor of holidays. One strategic way to sell alcohol online for your restaurant is to capitalise on the biggest drinking days of the year. Consider creating a content calendar for your restaurant with the 8 best holidays to sell alcohol for delivery or pick up. To make the most of the holidays and offer unique experiences, we’ve included some of the best drinking days of the year to get you started!

Graph featuring the biggest drinking days of the year

Trend 4: How to sell alcohol online to benefit your restaurant’s bottom line? Offer to-go drinks & cocktail kits to boost sales.

Now that we’ve covered special occasions like gifting and holidays let’s think about how your restaurant can take advantage of the beverage revenue stream on the day-to-day. Start by creating a drink menu considering popular items and ease of transportation. Depending on where you are, you may only be able to sell alcohol in its original container. In that case, make the most of the ready-to-drink trend (which is growing faster than any other drink category) by adding canned cocktails and Hard Seltzers to your menu. Another fun option is to offer cocktail kits, giving your customers the possibility to recreate your signature drinks at home without the need to open any bottles on your side. Last tip: don’t forget about add-on suggestions to increase your average order size. Prompt your customers with a “frequently ordered together” option that bundles popular food items with some of your new drinks.

Image of woman mixing a cocktail

Trend 5: How to sell alcohol online to benefit your restaurant’s bottom line?  Make sure you offer options for more sustainable sipping.

Did you know that 48% of alcohol drinkers say their purchase decisions are positively influenced by a company’s sustainability or environmental initiatives? With climate change on the rise, many of your customers are becoming more & more environmentally conscious. Running your restaurant sustainably will positively contribute to our earth’s future and your restaurant’s bottom line. We know that the notion of sustainability can feel overwhelming, but in reality, you can make your restaurant notably more sustainable with a few small shifts. Last month, the team at Otter partnered with sustainable living enthusiast, Addie Fischer, to learn some simple, tangible ways you can make your restaurant more sustainable.  You can also check out tips from the Sustainable Packaging Trends In the Beverage Industry site for more alcohol-specific tips on running an environmentally conscious business. 

Image of tropical cocktails

In 2022, your customers are ordering booze (and booze alternatives) on delivery platforms more than ever before. Why not use this behavioral shift to your restaurant’s advantage? We hope this article was helpful in showing you how to sell alcohol online to benefit your restaurant’s bottomline. Make sure to evolve based on the top 5 beverage trends for 2022: cater to the sober-curious, offer gifting packages, plan for the biggest drinking days of the year, offer to go drinks & cocktail kits, provide options for more sustainable sipping. And if you’re looking for more ways to increase revenue in the New Year, fill out the form below to get started with Otter. Cheers!

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