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The Best Alcoholic Summer Drinks to Add to Your Menu

This blog will share a short list of the most popular summer alcoholic drinks that restaurant owners can add to their menu.

9 min read
23/06/2022
Champagne glasses on an outdoor dining table

Summer is here! With June 21st marking the summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, the season of warm weather, sunny days, shorts, sandals, and—of course—ice cold drinks has officially begun. What summer drinks will your customers be sipping this summer?

As a business that sells alcohol, it’s an exciting time to update your menu and bring in a roster of fun, seasonal beverages for your customers to explore. Keep reading to learn the best summer alcoholic drinks to offer this year, with beverage trend insights from DoorDash alcohol retailers.

Local craft beer

For Sarb Shoor, the owner of Liquor Locker in Roseville, CA, craft beer is always a top seller. Sarb specializes in sourcing rare bottles from local breweries, like Moonraker Brewing or Russian River Brewing’s limited release Pliny the Elder, which customers “go nuts for,” he explains. Craft beers are one of the top four kinds of beer ordered for delivery, according to DoorDash ordering data, after lagers, IPAs, and ales.

Finding these drinks takes some hustle, however. Sarb stays on top of what customers are looking for by reading through comments on local beer forums, and then working with his distributors to get allocations. It’s this attention to detail that keeps Sarb’s customers coming back — they know that he’ll always have something new and interesting in stores.

Classic, easy-drinking beer

In addition to unique craft brews, don’t forget to stock up on the classic summer beers like Budweiser and Coors Light. Perfect for a backyard barbeque, these easy-drinking brews are refreshing with low ABV percentages for easy drinking.

“These beers are very light, so people order them more in the summer,” Sarb explains. For some customers, light beers are the best drinks for summer.  Make sure to have a few cases on hand, especially around weekends when people get together for beachside picnics and backyard kickbacks.

Spiked, ready to drink beverages

Another best summer drink category: spiked drinks in cans, like seltzers, kombuchas, and pre-mixed cocktails. One of the top 2022 alcohol trends, this new beverage category is quickly growing in popularity because it’s easy for customers to grab and go — the best summer mixed drink is one that you don’t need to mix!

“Hard seltzers are still number one for me, but hard kombuchas are growing in popularity again,” Sarb explains. His top selling brand is Truly seltzer, which comes in a variety of seasonal flavors, like strawberry lemonade and lemon tea.

Ellie Dawson, assistant manager at Yarmo Liquor in St. Paul, MN, shares how her store is seeing this trend grow this summer too. “We’re selling a lot more of the readymade cocktails, including a lot of seltzers and mixed drinks,” she explains.

Similar to Liquor Locker, Yarmo Liquor is constantly looking for new products to put on their shelves. “We just brought in this mixed cocktail brand called On the Rocks, which is super popular right now – we already went through a whole case,” Ellie shares. “We’re also waiting on this new Mountain Dew hard seltzer, which is really popular right now.”

Fruit-flavored everything

Across all categories, fruit flavors are some of the top-selling, best summer alcoholic drinks. “People like anything that gives them a taste of summer,” Ellie explains. Strawberry, mango, and peach flavors reign supreme, she shares — turning everything from wine, seltzers, vodka, and beer into festive, seasonal editions.

Seasonal variety packs

Similarly, Sarb has seen an increase in variety pack orders this summer, which often include a variety of fruit flavored beverages. “Companies don’t sell all of their flavors individually, so people will buy variety packs to try new flavors they’re curious about,” he explains. Some of his top-selling variety packs include the White Claw Iced Tea Variety Pack and the Sierra Nevada Hazy Little Things Party Pack.

Liquors and hard alcohol

Liquor is a year-round best seller for both Sarb and Ellie. Sarb’s number one summer seller in this category? “Vodka,” he shares. “We sell it like water, where we sell out cases in less than two months.” For Ellie, scotch is a top-seller, with Johnnie Walker taking the lead.

In summer, make sure to keep these beverages ice cold, so that a customer can enjoy them right away — either making a mixed drink, or sipping it on the rocks.

Rosé all day

Fresh, fruity rosé wine is one of the best drinks for the summer. Stock up on a variety of brands to appeal to all of your customers — some people prefer fruity wines, while others like their summer vino more on the dry side.

In addition, consider offering some unique wine-related beverages like piquette, which re-uses grape pomace from wine-making and turns it into a refreshing, low-ABV beverage. While it may not be a top-seller, it’ll still appeal to fans of natural wines — and those with adventurous palettes. 

Holiday and event specials

In addition to thinking about the best summer drinks to add to their menus, both Sarb and Ellie mentioned keeping summer events in mind when planning their inventory for the season. Here are some key holidays to keep in mind:

  • Graduations: Stock up on champagne for the adults, as well as non-alcoholic options for younger family members to celebrate.

  • Pride Month: Spotlight queer-owned brands for the entire month of June.

  • Juneteenth: Highlight Black-owned brands with a special weekend sale.

  • Fourth of July: Celebrate with a sale on select red, white, and blue beverages.

  • Local events: Does your city host any seasonal events, concerts, or music festivals in the summer? Make sure you offer on-theme summer drinks that keep the party going.

  • Labor Day: Offer steep discounts on summer favorites to clear out with this official “end of summer” holiday.

Additionally, consider holidays that might not be so close to home but might mean a lot to your customers. Yarmo Liquor makes sure to decorate their store and offer specials for European holidays so that “everyone can celebrate,” Ellie explains. Who doesn’t like to celebrate?

Tips for summer alcohol delivery

Getting your store stocked for summer is just the first step to driving great seasonal sales. As you prepare for warmer days ahead, here’s how to keep your cool with summer alcohol orders and delivery. No sweat!

  • Keep drinks ice cold: “We don’t send out a single order that isn’t cold,” Sarb explains. Make sure to keep your orders in a cooler until they’re ready to leave your store — no one wants their beverage to arrive lukewarm.

  • Offer alcohol delivery: With online sales of alcohol on the rise, it’s also a great time to consider offering alcohol delivery. A partner like DoorDash can help you grow your alcohol sales without having to hire or train delivery drivers, all through the platform your customers already know and love. “The DoorDash app is really user friendly,” Sarb explains. “We’ve gained a lot of frequent customers through the app,” Ellie adds.

  • Invest in marketing: Make sure customers know about your specials! Update your store’s decorations regularly, update your social media channels, and tap into DoorDash marketing tools to capture your customers’ attention.

Ready to grow your summer alcohol sales by offering the best summer drinks? Sign up for DoorDash for alcohol delivery today.

Author

Ali Cottong

Ali Cottong

Copywriter

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