Warm-weather sipping trends feature lighter beverage choices

Edward Finstein

In the warm weather, there are certain alcoholic drinks and styles that are more popular than others. Common sense dictates that, whatever the category, “lighter and fresher” are the keys to enjoyment. I’ve also noticed over the past years that folks like to experiment a bit more with new flavors in the warm weather and often try new things. Here’s what’s trending this summer.

When it comes to wine, the heat encourages folks to want to sip white rather than red, and this style probably sells best at this time of year. Those with minimal or no oak and good acidity top the list. Enter varietals such riesling, pinot grigio, and sauvignon blanc.

Vinho verde from Portugal is a popular summer sipper. Bubbly is widely consumed as well, especially lighter styles such Italy’s prosecco and spumante, France’s crémant, Germany’s sekt, and Spain’s cava. Rosé is no slouch at this time, either.

Some reds do show increases in sales, including fruity styles and lighter blended versions. Many of the “light” (lower alcohol/carbs/calories) wines and varietals tend to sell better in the warmer months. Even new flavors of vino are more likely to be on people’s “to try” lists.

Certain packaging is also preferred in the summer. Rather than clunky glass bottles, consumers vie for alternatives such as bag-in-the-box, tetra-packs, pouches, and cans. Containers that are more mobile for outdoor activities and easier to dispose of are key.

What would summer be without beer? Sales increase drastically at this time of year.

Lighter brews with lower alcohol are what are needed. So, pilsners, lagers, and lighter ales fly off of shelves, as do “light” (lower alcohol) versions. Fruitier versions are in high demand, especially flavored beers like those with apricot, wild apple, and honey.

Specialty brews, including ales with raspberry and cherry, are perfect for the heat. And, those infused with lime and lemon are great thirst quenchers.

Generally, cans do better than bottles, merely because they’re more mobile and chill down quicker. Interestingly, single unit sales tend to drop off and multi-pack sales increase.

Even ciders do well at this time of year. In fact, sales have increased considerably in the last several years. More folks tend to drink at home as summer entertaining shifts outdoors with barbeques and social get-togethers.

Distilled spirits also sell well

And, what of spirits?

Vodka tops the list for summer imbibes. After all, it’s clean and the key ingredient for so many refreshing drinks. Flavored versions do extremely well.

Rum plays big, too. Flavored styles, like those containing coconut and pineapple and reminiscent of the tropics, are a big hit when the temperature rises. Tequila heats up in the summer, too. Even certain brown spirits tend to rock this time of year.

Let’s not forget cocktails. Although huge all year long, summer sees this category skyrocket, especially for ready-to-drink versions and coolers.

Premixed drinks that are packaged for mobility and outdoor enjoyment make life so much easier in the warm weather. Just chill and sip out of the bottle with a straw.

New flavors like hard root beer should do extremely well.

Regardless of what you like to sip when the weather is warm, there are a lot of trendy drinks out there sure to please. Keep in mind that the season’s heat seems to intensify alcohol’s effect on your body, so please drink responsibly and consume plenty of water alongside your favorite tipple.



© Edward Finstein, “The Wine Doctor” 2016. Finstein is an award-winning author, TV/radio host, renowned wine journalist, international wine judge, professor of wine, and consultant. For more information, visit winedoctor.ca, twitter.com/drwineknow, thewinedoctor.blogspot.com, winedoctor.ca/docs-grapevine.html, or facebook.com/edwarddocfinstein?fref=ts.

Share this post with friends: