Inside the Industry
RTD Cocktails Showcase Quality Craft Spirits
Craft distilleries constantly innovate to stay relevant in the crowded spirits category. Case in point: Ready-to-drink cocktails.
Gone are the days when hyper-sweet concoctions dominated the category. Craft distillers in recent years recognized that premixed, canned cocktails were an excellent outlet to introduce their brands and showcase quality spirits. The opportunity remains solid with the popularity of cocktails-to-go and consumers’ desire to drink premium spirits at home, trends that boomed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Like many other food and beverage trends that started before coronavirus became a dominating force, RTD alcoholic beverages have only become more popular and relevant for consumers throughout both lockdowns and easing of restrictions,” according to a SmartBrief article.
In fact, the market for convenience, served with a satisfying drink, is significant enough that a wide range of beverage alcohol companies have entered the category. These include Bud Light, with hard seltzer, and Boulevard Brewing Company, with its Fling Canned Cocktails.
Boulevard describes the Fling line of seven cocktails: “These all-natural, spirit-based, ready-to-drink craft cocktails go where you go. Crisp, refreshing, and crafted with care, they’re ready for any adventure.”
Brett Vanderkamp, president and founder of New Holland Brewing Co., discussed his company’s move into canned cocktails in a blog article by the software company Orchestra. “It was a natural progression to look at ready-to-drink cocktails once we got our beer into cans, since canned cocktails can go anywhere beer can go. RTD packaging allows our consumers to conveniently and easily bring delicious cocktails on boats, to beaches, on the golf course, and to social events without having to pre-mix by hand.”
With growing consumer interest, RTD cocktails these days aren’t limited to gin or vodka.
Like new products with a base of whiskeys developed by the Master Blenders and Distillers at MGP specifically for this market: American Whiskey Aged (130 proof), a blend of aged rye bourbon and aged light whiskey; and Spirit Whiskey (185 proof), a blend of Grain Neutral Spirits (GNS) and light whiskey. The two are available in totes to accommodate mixing operations. For customers developing premixed cocktails using white spirits, MGP also offers its popular Distilled Gins and Grain Neutral Spirits in totes.
Recognizing the opportunity with RTD cocktails is easy. Execution is hard, as the American Distilling Institute notes in a 2019 Distiller magazine article. MGP is ready to help. Samples are available, and our experienced sales team can provide insight on getting an RTD cocktail to market.
Here’s more from MGP on canned cocktails.