The London-based data and intelligence company, IWSR, which tracks worldwide alcohol trends, says the Ready to Drink cocktails (RTDs) category grew 43% in global consumption last year. Driven by U.S. consumers, the category volume is projected to post +21.8% compound annual growth between 2019 and 2024.
So, what is behind the growth for these premade drinks? Much like a good cocktail is the perfect blend of ingredients, methods and creativity, the RTD category isn’t much different. Here are five factors behind its current and continued success:
The lockdowns of 2020 have greatly influenced the cocktails we enjoy and how we do so. With bars, clubs and restaurants being closed or limited as a result of the pandemic, consumers have attempted (with mixed results) to play bartender and replicate the cocktails they miss. People are realizing quality cocktails involve many ingredients, take time, are messy and don’t always turn out as desired, flavor-wise. For these consumers, RTD’s provide a prepackaged solution.
A return to classic cocktail culture has boosted the premiumization of spirits. The pandemic might also be a factor here, since the beer and wine categories are also seeing a trend towards premium brand sales. For RTDs this is most apparent in how sugary margaritas and other early versions of RTD cocktails have given way to everything from Gin & Tonic’s to Manhattan’s and Old Fashioned’s. The majority made with high quality ingredients and even including entries from the most premium spirits brands. The beverage landscape is perfect for even higher-priced RTDs to find an audience.
Let’s face it. The main attraction of RTDs is convenience. Making bartender-quality drinks at home has proven to be difficult. Having a well-crafted cocktail always ready to go is inviting. Packaging is also a factor to being able to enjoy a RTD when and where you want. For a long time, stadiums, concerts and outdoor events went hand-in-hand with canned and bottled beer. Now cans of hard seltzer, wine and RTDs are providing consumers more beverage options to enjoy.
Hard Seltzer Alternative
The rise of premium RTDs is inseparable from the hard seltzer boom. The latter has become a gateway into the wider category of premium, clean-tasting, canned products. Where a hard seltzer has a lighter taste profile, similar ABV and fewer calories than beer, RTDs can deliver similar to higher ABVs with more robust and diverse flavors than hard seltzer. Hard seltzer paved the way to consumers that now want a wider menu of convenient beverage options.
The beverage industry continues to be driven by the innovation and technology behind how products are manufactured, packaged and enjoyed. For instance, the right blending equipment plays a key role in determining the variety and quality of RTDs a beverage manufacturer can efficiently and effectively produce. Maintaining a quality product in a suitable package so you can achieve the needed shelf life is another. The advances on the production side continue to be astonishing.
TechniBlend has the proven technology to assist you in bringing the best beverages possible to market. From continuous stream or batch blending equipment to flash pasteurizers that safeguard product quality and improve shelf life, TechniBlend can help you take advantage of the fast-growing demand for RTD cocktails. Please contact us for more information on our innovative systems, services & technology.