Globally, Ready To Drink products have been a “stand-out category” during the pandemic, increasing in volume by 14% in 2021 – that’s on top of a 26% growth in 2020. By volume, the category is now about a third of the size of the global spirits category as well as the global wine category, states IWSR which expects RTD products to grow internationally by 44% in volume and 51% in value over the next five years.
So category growth is likely to continue in the world’s largest RTD markets, the US and Japan.
The Japanese RTD category is expected to expand in volume by more than 30% over the next five years, driven by Flavoured Alcoholic Beverages in particular.
In the US, propelled by the popularity of Hard Seltzers, the RTD category saw continued volume growth at 15% last year; RTD value growth (up 22% last year) will begin to outpace volume growth in the US as the category matures and higher-priced spirit-based RTDs gain traction in the market.
Albeit at a lower growth rate than in previous years, IWSR still expects Hard Seltzer volumes in the US to overtake those of still wine within the next two years.
CGA’s Channel Strategy Report in the US shows that RTD canned alcoholic beverages have been a trending topic of the quarter, hitting the headlines for their growth, transformation and challenges to category shares.
With this rising status, from a handy solution for a quick drink, to a go-to choice in bars and restaurants, this isn’t going to be the peak for RTDs, predicts CGA.
With this in mind, CGA reveals that these brands should focus their proposition on capturing the younger Legal Drinking Age consumers’ attention as this is where the opportunity really lies. Branding that takes a lively and trendy viewpoint is essential. Tapping into the ‘purpose’-driven ethos young consumers want to see from new brands will help to increase consideration of a product.
“We’re seeing these two disruptive categories, RTDs and Hard Seltzers, really shake things up in the drinks market, starting prior to Covid-19 and continuing throughout the pandemic, showing no signs of slowing as recovery continues,” says Thomas Graham, Senior Client Manager Americas at CGA, “As we see more and more products launching, understanding how to challenge or win in this space is at the forefront of suppliers’ thoughts as well informing themselves on how the categories’ longevity looks.”
Pubs remain heartland for Ireland’s RTDs
Here at home, the RTD category in the on-trade has been valued at some €8.4 million over the latest Quarter (up by 0.2% compared to three years ago) and it has gained a 0.1 percentage point share of the total alcohol market according to CGA by NielsenIQ, which equates to 1.5% of the total LAD market value of €545.2 million.
“Pubs remain the heartland for RTDs, with 41.4% of total RTD value sitting within this segment,” reports CGA by NielsenIQ via its On-Premise Measurement data to April 2022, “Hotels provide a secondary opportunity as the category over-indexes vs total RoI the most here (up 1.9 percentage points).
Elsewhere, a CGA by NielsenIQ Opus Survey from 2021 states that there’s a willing consumer base for RTDs with consumers drinking Alcopops ‘occasionally’ (52%), ‘almost every time’ (25%) and ‘every time’ (13%), with only 11% hardly ever choosing to drink when out.
Cocktail Keg Company’s Premium Handcrafted Cocktails
Our straight pour options are served within 30 seconds from order to garnish. We guarantee a bespoke hand-crafted approach to each cocktail, delivering an incredible standard on every serve. Every flavour is produced at a level that will not be questioned.
Available via Noreast, Premium ingredients and consistency are delivered on every serve. Unafraid to challenge category norms, CKC was founded in 2017 by two award-winning bar owners. Their creative flair, passion for their industry and sheer doggedness to be led by innovation with a planet-first mantra allows anyone pour an award-winning, hand-crafted cocktail in their glass within 30 seconds. Perfect for busy bars, restaurants, event spaces and hotels, CKC offers its range of high quality serves in a 700ml Non-Returnable Bottles or 10 Litre Bag-in-Box.
Q&As with CKC Founders Anthony Farrell and Paul Burns
- What’s been CKC’s progress in supplying the on- and off-trade?
Founded by two award-winning bar owners with over 20 years’ experience of creating cocktail menus across Belfast, CKC was born in the on-trade. Wanting to challenge the industry norms of how everyone thought a cocktail should be made, CKC was created to help busy hospitality venues serve Premium hand-made cocktails in a fast serve, high volume capacity. Following the global pandemic in 2020, the brand pivoted to create a B2C extension and now offers its range of high-quality serves through retail to recreate those on-trade experiences at home.
Espresso Martini, Pornstar Martini and Bramble are amongst our top-sellers. We do however notice regional differences across the portfolio – for example, there’s a sweeter palate in Northern Ireland so flavoured Daiquiris are big sellers there versus the South where Whiskey Sour is a front-runner.
- Having seen the growth in cocktails-to-go during the pandemic Lockdowns, what are the advantages of using CKC bottled cocktails in the on-trade rather than simply ask the barstaff to make them on-site?
As a result of Covid many of the skilled and experienced workforce have fled the industry, never to return. This has created a shortage of staff, skilled bartenders and mixologists who’re pivotal to the incremental value which can be added to hospitality outlets through Premium cocktail serves. CKC offers a fast pour solution for a Premium, hand-made cocktail which can be served in 30 seconds from order to garnish – providing a quick, efficient and high-margin product for bars, restaurants and event organisers that struggle with quality, consistency or customer dwell-time.
- How can CKC help the on-trade keep consumers in venue as a viable alternative to the cocktails-to-go movement?
Consumers are experimenting more than ever – and where the on-trade can win is by offering the consumer something new.
We guarantee a bespoke, small-batch approach to hand-crafting each cocktail and strive to create new, world-leading recipes that will pioneer the next phase in cocktail innovation.
We’ve also intentionally built CKC so that the product requires the bartender to shake before serve, allowing the venue to keep that flair element for a true on-trade experience.
CKC offers a premium, quick pour cocktail solution that increases venue penetration, reduces wastage and dramatically reduces consumer waiting times – which as a result can reduce labour costs, increase revenue and enhance profit.
- Is the emergence of Ready To Drink cocktails creating an opportunity to bring sprits-based RTD cocktails to new occasions?
Absolutely. Historically, cocktails were only served in certain venues – either destination high-end cocktail bars or venues that could cope with demand. The ready-to-shake movement has opened the opportunity to serve cocktails within any venue or space and we’re seeing huge opportunity within HORECA which was simply never there before.
Just in time for August Bank Holiday: White Claw Variety Pack
White Claw Variety 8-Pack delivers some of Ireland’s favourite flavours – Black Cherry, Mango, Natural Lime and Raspberry – in one convenient pack, driving trial amongst consumers.
White Claw boasts a blend of sparkling water, gluten-free triple-distilled spirit and a hint of natural fruit flavour with only 95 calories per can. With no artificial sweeteners and an ABV of 4.5%, White Claw Hard Seltzer delivers a wave of pure refreshment.
Last Summer, White Claw Variety Pack outsold all other Hard Seltzer SKUs by more than 2.5 times in both value and unit ROS, making it the No1 for value delivery in Ireland.
White Claw Hard Seltzer is already the #2 RTD can brand by volume in Ireland and has become a cultural phenomenon with fans generating over four billion impressions and 46 times more social media mentions than competing brands in the US.
“Last year, we had an incredible response to our variety eight-pack so we’re delighted to have the opportunity to reintroduce the product to our Irish customers,” said Flor Prendergast, UK & Ireland Market Director, “A White Claw Variety eight-pack is a great way to promote trial of our brand among consumers as well as offer their favourite flavours in one convenient pack.”
Distributed by Barry & Fitzwilliam the White Claw Variety 8-Pack is available with 2xMango, 2xNatural Lime, 2xBlack Cherry & 2xRaspberry.
The legendary hooch is back! Hooch has created what some have called ‘the beverage of the people’ – an easy-going, smooth-drinking, no-nonsense, boisterous alcoholic lemonade.
Lemon: with very little change from the liquid that rocked the world of drinkers back in the 90s, Hooch Lemon gives a big sharp citrus hit followed by some sweet Lemony goodness. This sparkling alcoholic Lemon brew is made with real Lemons and natural Lemon flavours. Outrageously refreshing, enjoy ice-cold or as the foundation for Lemon-based cocktail.
Pink: a satisfying sweet alcoholic Raspberry lemonade with that signature Hooch citrus kick. Made with real Lemon juice and natural Raspberry flavours. Deliciously zesty and tangy, Pink Hooch is a badass addition to the Hooch family; it’s here to shake things up and is the absolute winner in the world of RTDs.
Shake Baby Shake Cocktails
Inspired by the most-loved cocktail liquids being served in the coolest bars, Shake Baby Shake delivers high quality cocktail liquids in an easy-to-drink, on-the-go sleek 25cl can with four flavours.
Perfect for meeting with friends in the park or beach or at garden parties or BBQs. Passionfruit Martini, Raspberry Mojito, Tropical Daiquiri and Watermelon Daiquiri are all a must for the Summer.
Little & Green
Intrepid Spirits is embarking on a new venture in Ireland with Little & Green, the world’s first Ready To Drink Poitín cocktail brand. Together with Dave Mulligan, owner of the award-winning Poitín cocktail bar Bar 1661, it has crafted a range of Ready To Drink Poitín cocktails using locally-inspired flavours tailored specifically for the Irish consumer.
Little & Green releases two varieties this Summer, Shady Bramble and Sneaky Orchard. Shady Bramble is inspired by Ireland’s deep, dense hedgerows and is absolutely loaded with flavours of wild juicy Blackberry, Raspberry and Violet. Sneaky Orchard is a harvest festival of ripe Pear, crisp Apple and Elderflower.
Both are made with all natural flavours, no artificial sweeteners, vegan- and gluten-free. They’ll be available in 330ml cans, with an ABV of 5% from retail and on-trade outlets nationwide and online at littleandgreen.ie.
Craft Cocktails offers a consistent, cost-effective, zero waste solution to serving top quality cocktails in your venue.
With a standardised approach to serves, all you have to do is chill, shake, pop and pour.
Our advocacy team will help train your staff and set you up with everything you need to be serving a colourful array of cocktails in no time.
Made by bartenders, in the heart of Dublin 7.
New-style alcoholic drink from WKD offers something X-tra
The number one Ready To Drink brand in Ireland is launching WKD X, a new 7% ABV drink containing caffeine, guarana and taurine.
Available in two variants, WKD X Blue and WKD X Gold, WKD X draws on the energy drinks category’s success, presenting a credible alcoholic option to 18 to 24 year-olds.
With energy drinks the fastest-growing segment of the soft drinks category SHS Drinks believes that WKD’s perfectly placed to bring a highly-regarded brand to the fledgling ‘enhanced RTD’ category.
“WKD is synonymous with delivering great flavours,” says Brendan Loughran, Head of Business Unit (Ireland) at SHS Drinks, “The brand has always been about delivering for different consumer moments and needs across a spectrum of usage occasions and WKD X will take our offering to another level.
“WKD X is where the WKD brand meets the lust for life; it’s an energetic fusion of the best of both. Consumers are already well versed in mixing alcoholic drinks with energy drinks – what WKD X delivers is the convenience of a pre-mixed format in a 500ml can from a brand that consumers know and love.
“For wholesalers and retailers keen to focus on where incremental RTD category growth will come from WKD X marks the spot and is available in trade cases of 12x500ml single cans.”
Cash & Carry displays, off-shelf in-store features, extensive influencer activity and consumer PR will support the launch.
West Coast Cooler relaunches with new packaging and RTD can format for on- and off-trade
West Coast Cooler is relaunching its popular wine cooler with a new-look bottle and easy-travel can format. The iconic beverage, born in the 80s, is not only getting a makeover in 2022, it’s also launching a pop-up can delivery subscription service, Only Cans.
The new-look packaging in a 750ml bottle and new 250ml can has the same great product inside and comes in Original and Rosé:
- Original – a refreshing citrus, Pineapple and Passionfruit-flavoured wine cooler with sugar and sweeteners, at just 93 calories per 250ml serving.
- Rosé – a refreshing red berry, Pineapple and Passionfruit-flavoured wine cooler with sugar & sweeteners, 88 calories per per 250ml serving. Serve chilled, over ice, with a wedge of Lime.
“West Coast Cooler has been a consistent consumer favourite since its inception in 1984,” said Assistant Brand Manager Laura Kerr of the brand relaunch, “It’s a great sparkling, refreshing light option when you want to enjoy a social drink with friends.
“The one thing we haven’t touched is the great-tasting product. We’ve also got an amazing competition with Only Cans – a chance to win some product over the Summer.”
The West Coast Cooler team are also investing in PR & Marketing over the next few months as they team up with Irish comedian (and West Coast Cooler fan) Emma Doran to relaunch the wine cooler with a competition to win an Only Cans subscription (being given away on the West Coast Cooler Instagram page). The winners of the subscription receive a tote bag with a selection of West Coast Cooler Original and Rosé inside and get further deliveries of West Coast Cooler throughout the Summer.