In-Store Sales of Alcoholic Beverages Around St. Patrick’s Day Likely to Top Pre-Pandemic Levels

Per Catalina, Most Packaged Liquor Categories to Rise as People Host/Attend More Parties

ST. PETERSBURG, FL, March 10, 2022 – With St. Patrick’s Day now one of the country’s most widely celebrated holidays, shopper intelligence leader Catalina has tapped into its Buyer Intelligence Platform to determine how the on-going COVID-19 pandemic has impacted alcoholic beverage purchases at grocery stores across the country for this popular Irish lovefest -- and how they are likely to fare in 2022.

With panic buying starting in March 2020 as COVID-19 lockdowns began, in-store alcohol sales around St. Patrick’s Day surged. One year later, alcohol sales in most categories declined on a percentage basis vs. 2020, but they still posted a 20% increase overall compared to the last “regular” St. Patrick’s Day celebrated in 2019. The exception is the Pre-mixed Cocktails/Cooler category which has experienced an ongoing sales boom.

Week ending 3/20/21

ADULT BEVERAGE CATEGORIES Vs. 2020 -- Dollars per Store Change v.2019 (Pre-Pandemic)– Dollars/Store Change
Pre-mixed Cocktails/Coolers +23% +164%
Domestic Beer/Ale -28% +23%
Imported Beer/Ale -16% +27%
Imported Wine -32% +14%
Domestic Wine -34% +10%
Sherry/Vermouth/Champagne -15% +29%
Spirits -32% +22%

Source: Catalina’s Buyer Intelligence Platform, 2019-21

In looking at recent sales trends for the four weeks ending March 4, total alcohol sales are trending about flat vs. last year. As such, Catalina predicts St. Patrick's Day week in 2022 will be comparable to last year. For comparison, alcohol sales for Super Bowl week this year were down about 2% vs. Super Bowl week last year. However, compared to the same pre-pandemic period in 2019, alcohol sales continue to be higher. That is why Catalina estimates St. Patrick's Day week this year will be 5-15% higher than 2019 levels, with beer leading the way.

“It makes sense that sales of adult beverages were up in 2021 compared to the last pre-pandemic St. Patrick’s Day holiday since many public gathering places last year still faced COVID restrictions. Add to that, many people were still uncomfortable gathering indoors – and they weren’t keen on drinking or dining outdoors at the tail end of Winter – hence many chose to celebrate at home,” said Sean Murphy, Chief Data & Analytics Officer for Catalina.

“Here we are two years into the pandemic, with more than 77% of the country having received at least one vaccine dose, CDC masking guidelines easing, and restaurants and bars back operating again with few restrictions in most places,” said Murphy. “With the National Retail Federation’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Survey showing that 19% of respondents plan to celebrate at a bar or restaurant this year -- compared to 10% a year ago – 25% of respondents are still planning to host or attend larger private gatherings, compared to 21% last year. That’s why we anticipate in-store liquor sales this year will still be higher than 2019, even with a corresponding uptick at bars and restaurants.”


About Catalina
Catalina is a leader in shopper intelligence and highly targeted in-store, TV, radio and digital media that personalizes the shopper journey. Powered by the world's richest real-time shopper database, Catalina helps retailers, CPG brands and agencies optimize every stage of media planning, execution and measurement to deliver $6.1 billion in consumer value annually. Catalina has no higher priority than ensuring the privacy and security of the data entrusted to the company and maintaining consumer trust. Catalina has operations in the United States, Costa Rica, Europe and Japan. To learn more, please visit or follow us on Twitter @Catalina.

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