The era of hard seltzers is over. The latest craze to hit the beverage market? Canned Cocktails.
Ready-to-drink (RTD) canned cocktails were the fastest-growing spirits category last year, with $1.6 billion in revenue. 2021’s revenue was up 42% percent from the year before, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States. And this growth doesn’t show any signs of slowing – a new report from the IWSR predicts that spirit-based RTDs will overtake hard seltzers by 2025, with cocktail products taking a 26% share of the total RTD category, compared to hard seltzer’s 20% share.
As beer continues to lose shares of the alcoholic beverage market, large beer manufacturers have jumped aboard the canned spirits trend – announcing their RTD cocktail lines seemingly left and right – from Anheuser Busch’s acquisition of Cutwater Spirits to Molson Coors’ Topo Chico Spirited line. Just last month, Boston Beer joined the growing trend, releasing their Loma Vista canned tequila sodas.
Why Canned Cocktails?
The growth of the canned cocktails market segment reflects the premiumization trend among consumers in the U.S. Consumers are no longer are looking to just have a beer at home – they want the flavor and experience of a high end cocktail. “Consumers in the US have grown accustomed to the convenience and variety offered by RTDs, which has increasingly led to people trading up to spirit-based cocktails.” says Brandy Rand, Chief Strategy Officer at IWSR Drinks Market Analysis.
The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States released a report in September 2022 in which nearly two-thirds of survey respondents said they consider themselves to be a regular or occasional consumer of RTD beverages. According to Robert Blizzard, partner at Public Opinion Strategies, “American consumers are increasingly prioritizing convenience, taste, variety and quality in their choice of beverages. Spirits-based RTDs fit squarely in this trend, so it’s no surprise these products are leading the spirits category in both market growth and consumer popularity.”
Canned Cocktail Brands Leading the Way
Cutwater Spirits, first started under Ballast Point Brewing Company before being spun off into its own entity in 2016, was one of the first distilleries to start making canned cocktails and now are one of the leading RTD cocktail companies on the market. Acquired by Anheuser Busch in 2019, Cutwater now has over 25 different cocktail options – from the classic vodka soda and margarita – to the more adventurous Tiki Rum Mai Tai. Cutwater has been leading the way for other canned cocktail brands to follow in their footsteps.
One of those canned cocktails brands looking to find the success of Cutwater is Faux Pas Cocktails, a RTD cocktail line from Betches that launched last summer. Using the Betches’ widely followed platform on Instagram and TikTok to gain attention in the market, Faux Pas has found popularity among millennial women. The brand has launched four cocktails so far – tequila soda, vodka mule, vodka soda and margarita.
Fall Flavors: The Newest Canned Cocktails on the Market
This fall, we explored some of the latest canned cocktail lines to hit the shelves. RTD cocktail brand CHIDO caught consumers’ attention earlier this fall with the release of their Pumpkin Spice Latte cocktail. The cocktail contains Blanco Tequila and 100% Arabica coffee and offers 50mg of caffeine per can.
Misunderstood Whiskey Co. is another company getting creative with their fall flavored RTD cocktail options. They recently released their Oat Nog, which features ginger spiced whiskey and oat milk.
Golden Rule is yet another spirits company that has created their own line of canned cocktails. This fall, they’ve released a canned espresso martini in a 100 ml can with a knock-you-over 24% ABV per can. This canned cocktail allows consumers to enjoy the sophisticated taste of an espresso martini without the price tag that comes with ordering one at a bar.
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