Report: U.S. Wine Sales Have Declined For the First Time in 25 Years

But that doesn't mean we're drinking less alcohol.
red wine bottles in a wine cellar

The "Summer of White Claw" has long since ended, but the world is still reeling from the ramifications. And one primary target is a drink as old as time itself: wine.

Yes, according to a new report by IWSR Drinks Market Analysis, wine sales in the United States have declined for the first time since 1994—and it may be directly correlated with the recent surge of hard seltzers, like Truly, White Claw, and Bon & Viv.

RELATED: Report: 55% of Americans Drink Hard Seltzer At Least Once a Week

Per IWSR's data, wine sales in 2019 dropped about 0.9 percent year over year, which may sound like a marginal amount. But when you zoom out and look at the big picture—the fact that wine sales increased for two-and-a-half decades straight before this point—it's a data point worth noting.

And it's not like Americans are drinking any less. In fact, according to the report, drink categories across the board saw major increases between 2018 and 2019. Mezcal sales jumped 40 percent. Japanese whiskey increased by 23.1 percent, thanks to raving word of mouth reviews for brands like Iwai and The Yamazaki. And vodka remains a perennial American favorite: Tito's Handmade Vodka alone experienced a 20 percent spike in sales.

But the big story is the meteoric rise of ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages, a category that surged by a whopping 50 percent in 2019. Broadly speaking, RTD beverages include any alcoholic beverages that are pre-made, pre-mixed, and generally served in cans. Some RTD beverages are cocktails: gin-and-tonics, margaritas, vodka sodas, and the like. For the most part, though, the category is led by hard seltzers. In fact, according to another recent IWSR report, more than half of all Americans imbibe the stuff at least once a week.

Going into 2020, Wine Wednesdays might become a thing of the past. But Truly Thursdays? Seltzer Sundays? Even White Claw Wednesdays? Bottoms up, folks.

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Ari Notis
Ari is an editor specializing in news and lifestyle. Read more
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