Positive consumer outlook and current sales trends created the strong finish to 2021 for the on-premise sector, CGA research analysts said based on polling data merged with analysis from CGA’s BeverageTrak service on how beer, wine and spirits are being ordered and distributed. The U.S. market was set to perform strongly ahead of the holidays and did so, with 2022 “looking promising.” Retail sales for most major beverage categories and companies in IRI tracked channels improved in December measured through Dec. 26 vs. the 4Q21 run-rate. Christmas Week 2021 was the second highest beverage alcohol sales week ever in terms of growth rates, and the “holiday surge delivered” with the week ended Dec. 26, just behind the Fourth of July 2020, according to IRI. Total sales were up 1% vs. a year ago and up 12% vs. 2019 for the Christmas week, reaching about $1.66 billion in IRI-measured channels. By category, total wine sales were up 1.6% for the week compared to 2020; spirits sales were up 4.7%; and beer sales were flattish (-0.6%). In control states as measured by NABCA, the distilled spirits category reported 8.3%-dollar sales growth, while volumes increased 4.0%.