New Jersey is looking to beverage alcohol as a potential boon for its post-pandemic economy, with leaders in the state naming liquor license reform as a legislative priority. Brands looking to enter the state should take note of consumer purchasing trends within the last few years. The Park Street University team has put together a comprehensive review of trends within categories and subcategories in New Jersey and the top brands in the state, according to the latest data from Beverage Information Group.

Categories in Context 

Nine-liter case volumes for spirits grew 5.3% from 2019 to 2021 in New Jersey, making the category the fastest growing in the state over beer at 2.5% and wine at less than 1%. In total, 8.9 million cases of distilled spirits were sold in New Jersey in 2021 

Beer was the largest category in the state by volume, selling more than 67.3 million cases. The wine category was the second-largest with the Garden State consuming over 15.8 million cases. Overall, beer sales accounted for 73% of the market share, followed by wine at 17.2%, and distilled spirits at 9.8%.

How Subcategories Performed

Though the overall growth of wine in the state was slow, sparkling wine volumes saw healthy growth in 2021, selling almost 5% more cases than in the previous year. Sparkling wine’s share of the wine category grew to 6.6%, while table wine led the way with over 91%. However, case volumes for table wine saw a slight drop from the previous year.

The fastest-growing distilled spirits subcategory in the state was the prepared cocktails subcategory. Prepared cocktails saw 13% category growth from the previous year in the Garden State. Overall, the subcategory accounted for 424,000 cases and close to 5% of the market share within distilled spirits.

The top distilled spirits subcategory in the state was vodka, followed by rum, cordials, scotch, and American whiskey. Despite their hold on the lead, vodka and rum each saw their case volumes drop from the previous year. Overall growth within distilled spirits was driven by the rise of prepared cocktails, tequila, and Irish whiskey.

Top Brands in the State

Half of the top 20 distilled spirits brands in New Jersey were made up of vodka brands, led by Tito’s Handmade Vodka with 472,000 cases sold. Smirnoff and New Amsterdam were also in the top five brands, alongside rum brands Bacardi and Captain Morgan.

Fireball Cinnamon Whisky, Jameson Irish Whiskey, Svedka, Absolut, and Crown Royal rounded out the top ten brands in the state. While there were no tequila brands represented in the top 20, prepared cocktail Jose Cuervo RTD managed to finish 14th overall with 108,000 cases sold.

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