The brand was launched in 2018, ‘combining the appeal of indulgent full flavor lemonade and ‘Americana’, with high-quality ingredients and 9% ABV’. The drinks are gluten-free and made with real fruit, with a light-hearted look and feel to embody the spirit of relaxed, at-home and outdoor occasions. Flavors include lemonade, mixed berry lemonade and watermelon lemonade.
Diageo will acquire the brand from Rhode Island whiskey and gin producer Sons of Liberty Spirits Company.
Lone River and Loyal 9
RTD is the fastest growing category in total beverage alcohol in the US: up 20% between 2016 and 2019, according to IWSR figures. The category boasted a retail sales value of more than $7.8bn in 2019.
RTDs have gained momentum thanks to demand for at-home cocktails and convenient formats for casual and at-home occasions.
Diageo’s spirits-based RTD portfolio includes recently launched spirits-based RTD innovations such as Crown Royal Ready to Drink Cocktails, Tanqueray Crafted Gin Cocktails and Ketel One Botanical Vodka Spritz. Last month it announced the acquisition of Texas hard seltzer Lone River Ranch Water.
RTD alcohol represents around 4% of Diageo’s net sales globally; but grew 13% in the latter half of 2020 with North America and Australia leading broad-based growth across all regions. In North America, volumes grew 25%.
Debra Crew, President of Diageo North America, said: “Loyal 9 hits an RTD ‘sweet spot’, merging American consumers’ growing appreciation for better quality ingredients with the full flavor lemonade they love, and a classic Americana feel.
“We have a clear strategy to build and diversify our RTD offerings across price points and consumer segments, and Loyal 9 is a great addition to our portfolio, which is also growing through the recent acquisition of Lone River and innovations from several of our brands.”