Not that long ago, if you wanted to enjoy a great cocktail you would have to go to a nice bar, fine dining establishment or invite a seasoned mixologist to your house party. Luckily, in the past 24 months we have seen a massive rise in offerings of ready-to-drink and pre-mixed cocktails making wonderful cocktails available to anyone, anywhere.
To learn more about the recent rise of the category we reached out to Stephanie Taschereau, Supply management -Spirits & RTD analyst at the SAQ (Société des alcools du Québec)
Q Are ready-to-drink cocktails a trend or a category that is here to stay and grow?
A The first canned ready-to-drink products appeared around 2015 at the SAQ. Bottled ready-to-drink products had been available for several years in grocery stores for those made from malt, as well as at the SAQ for those made from spirits.
The very first Quebec products in this category offered at the SAQ were prepared by major international suppliers, who prepare their products in Quebec such as Bacardi Breezer and Smirnoff, and have been doing so since 2003. Flavors and trends have changed a lot since then, these products are mostly no longer available today, but their variant is still on our shelves, almost 20 years later.
In 2018, ready-to-drink brands from Quebec began to appear, such as Romeo’s Gin + Tonic in 2018. Then in 2019, Romeo’s expanded its offerings and other players were added, such as Seventh Heaven, Noroi, Oshlag, to name a few.
The biggest boom was in 2020 and then in 2021 the amount of new product offerings surprised many!
Customers are always on the lookout for new products and welcome variety with open arms, today there is a ready-to-drink cocktail for each and every occasion!
Q What makes ready-to-drink cocktails more attractive to consumers in 2021?
A As in many markets, ready-to-drink cocktails are booming. Sales of RTD coolers increased by 62% in 2021, following a growth of 40% in 2020. Quebec is no exception: the supply of ready-to-drink continues to grow and it continues to become more and more varied! Quebec ready-to-drink products grew by 117% in 2020, and 70% in 2021. Novelty is really a driver in growth of this category, and suppliers in Quebec and elsewhere are following this trend. Beyond vodka, ciders, sangria and gin, already well exploited in this segment, we now find ready-to-drink based on rum, whiskey, tequila, amaretto, and many more, all offered in a variety of flavors!
Q What are some of your favorite ready-to-drink cocktails that have emerged recently?
A Seltzers are the big novelty this year, across our network. At the SAQ, we quadrupled sales for 2020. A lot of innovations, big players and big sellers, but also more niche products have appeared.
Q What would you recommend to retailers to help grow the category?
A In short, what makes this new trend of RTD beverages so successful is definitely the variety of offerings! The consumer wants to discover new products, and appreciates a variety of options. This category keeps recruiting new consumers, and if you look at what the United States sees as growth, you know right away that the trend is here to stay, its potential is enormous.
Thank you to Stephanie for her insight!
With the holiday season around the corner, we expect to see a lift in RTD cocktails and seltzers as consumers prepare to host friends and family. This presents a great opportunity for retailers to increase refrigerated space for RTD cocktails with a beautifully merchandised grab-and-go cooler designed to make these products pop. Available in three sizes, our SIERRA-LPs of low-profile grab-and-go coolers really draw in consumers with our signature “Edge-Lit” LED headers as well as individually lit shelves and shelf strips. If energy consumption is a concern, we also manufacture our VISTA series of “frameless” glass door coolers, available in a variety of sizes.
Whether you’re a retailer looking for additional refrigerated space, or a beverage brand looking to make your products stand out from the crowd, contact MTL COOL today to find the perfect solution for you.