The category includes Hard Seltzers and RTD cocktails, many of which are hitting shelves for the first time in recent years.
These took the international market by storm during the pandemic, with global sales volumes up by 14% last year following 26% growth in 2020.
This trend was mirrored here, according to Drinks Ireland, with sales of cocktails and Long Alcoholic Drinks up by 60% last year and with Hard Seltzers up by 46%.
This comes as overall alcohol consumption continues to decline in Ireland, down by 4.7% between 2020 and 2021 – and 33% since 2001.
The majority of sales were of imported RTDs but local producers have entered the market, with sales of Irish RTD brands up 7.4% between 2020 and 2021.
Little & Green represents one new Irish brand of sparkling canned cocktails made using Poitín.
“The growth in RTDs as a category is well-known and in mature RTD markets like the US, UK and Japan, they’re already in their second and third waves of innovation in this regard,” said Colin Staunton, Marketing Director at Intrepid Spirits, the co-creators of Little & Green, “While Ireland is a relatively immature RTD market we saw that there was demand for an authentic sparkling canned cocktail using ingredients that were formulated specifically for the Irish consumer. We’re passionate believers in the Poitín category and Little & Green was created with the award-winning team at Bar 1661, home to the world’s largest selection of Poitín and the palates behind the bestselling Irish brand Craft Cocktails.”
Vincent McGovern, Director of Spirits at Drinks Ireland, has pointed out the promise held by the RTD market, stating, “RTDs are another great innovation in the Irish spirits market that consumers have responded positively to. There are a diverse range of flavours and low-calorie options. We’re seeing Irish suppliers jump on this trend and this is set to continue,” he predicted.