Beer, Wine, and Liquor Stores

Industry Profile Report

Dive Deep into the industry with a 25+ page industry report (pdf format) including the following chapters

Industry Overview Current Conditions, Industry Structure, How Firms Operate, Industry Trends, Credit Underwriting & Risks, and Industry Forecast.

Call Preparation Call Prep Questions, Industry Terms, and Weblinks.

Financial Insights Working Capital, Capital Financing, Business Valuation, and Financial Benchmarks.

Industry Profile Excerpts

Industry Overview

The 30,600 beer, wine, and liquor stores in the US sell alcoholic beverages to individuals and businesses. They are the third tier in the three-tier system of manufacturers, distributors, and retailers. Seventeen US states operate state-controlled liquor stores, known as Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) stores.

Big Box Store Competition

Supermarkets and convenience stores that are permitted to market and sell alcohol have several advantages over liquor stores.

Regulations Affect Operations

Alcohol retailers are one of the most tightly regulated retail industries.

Industry size & Structure
Industry Forecast
Beer, Wine, and Liquor Stores Industry Growth
Source: Vertical IQ and Inforum

Recent Developments

Oct 8, 2023 - Retail Sales Rise
  • Sales at beer, wine, and liquor stores were up in June compared to a year ago but relatively flat versus May. The higher prices charged by beer, wine, and liquor retailers are being supported by consumers as personal consumer expenditures continue to climb. Industry employment is rising to meet retail demand but not as steeply as wages. Average wages at beer, wine, and liquor stores were up $1.15 per hour in July 2023 versus the same period last year. Following a dramatic pandemic-induced spike in 2020, sales for the US beer, wine, and liquor stores industry are forecast to grow at a 3.47% compounded annual rate from 2022 to 2027, slower than the growth of the overall economy.
  • The change of seasons is accompanied by a change in alcoholic beverage preferences as consumers switch to fall drinks including lagers, Italian red wines, and reposado tequilas, according to early data from online alcohol ordering and delivery platform Drizly. Among red wines, Italian wines are gaining in popularity with Italian grape varieties including Sangiovese, Montepulciano, Barbera, and Nebbiolo among the fastest-growing red wine varieties on Drizly’s ecommerce platform. The surge in consumer demand for Italian wines is also expanding in the on-premise market, according to data from NielsenIQ, suggesting that this spike in popularity will keep growing in off-premise channels as well. As for beer, lager is trending this year, making up 42% of beer share overall amid a decline in demand for hard cider. Among tequilas, year-to-date reposado is a standout, making up 30% share of the category compared to 28% last year.
  • For the first time in more than 20 years, Bud Light recently lost its title as America’s best-selling beer, Marketing Dive reports. Bud Light was dethroned by Mexican lager Modelo Especial, owned in the United States by Constellation Brands. For the four-week period ending June 10, Bud Light’s dollar share of the beer category dropped to 7.2%, while Modelo saw its dollar share surge to 8.4%, with the brand’s year-to-date (YTD) share hovering at 8%. However, on a YTD basis, Bud Light remains the number one beer in America with an 8.9% dollar share of the beer category. Bud Light’s sales have taken a big hit as a result of the brand’s ill-fated partnership with TikTok trans personality Dylan Mulvaney, with some consumers boycotting the brand.
  • Beer, wine, and spirits retailers oppose the reintroduction of legislation that would allow the US Postal Service to ship alcoholic beverages directly to consumers in states where it’s currently legal to do so, according to the American Beverage Licensees. The trade association for retail beverage alcohol license holders said in a statement that the US Postal Service Shipping Equity Act (HR 3721) would endanger the Constitutional authority that provides states with regulatory oversight over alcohol sales and distribution and would increase instances of illegal alcohol shipping. Creating yet another pathway for illegal alcohol shipping – especially one in which the shipper is not accountable to state alcohol regulatory actions due to its federal sovereignty – threatens to undermine the progress state officials are making in shutting down illegal alcohol shipping, the group said. It noted that previous Congresses have routinely rejected legislation to ship alcohol through the mail.
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