The RTD cocktail brand, founded in Austin, Texas, is currently distributed in 28 states and grew 135% in depletions in calendar 2021 as RTD drinks continue to trend with consumers.
The Austin Cocktails brand will be integrated into Constellation’s Fine Wine & Craft Spirits Division, along with brands such as High West and The Prisoner Wine Company.
Tracking RTD growth since 2014
Best known for creating premium, bottled and canned craft cocktails, Austin Cocktails was started by two sisters, Jill Burns and Kelly Gasink, who launched the brand as an homage to their late grandfather, Fred.
Burns and Gasink brought their product to market in 2014 when the ready-to-drink category was relatively small.
“Long before the recent boom of RTD’s, they began to craft and package cocktails with natural ingredients and premium spirits that have full-strength alcohol content (12-15% ABV) and provide the clean taste and body of a freshly made, craft cocktail,” notes Constellation Brands. “Inspired by their grandfather’s tradition of dropping everything at 5 o’clock during the harvest months to enjoy cocktails with friends and family, the brand’s focus on bringing “cocktail time” back to life in a new way for today’s consumers is right for our times.
Constellation Brands invested in the brand in 2018 as part of Constellation Ventures’ Focus on Female Founders initiative: an initiative that aims to invest $100m in female-led or female founded companies by 2028 (female founded companies only accounted for 2% of venture capital investments in 2021).
“Austin Cocktails and its co-founders, Jill and Kelly, are at the forefront of understanding market trends toward premiumization. The quality of their drinks is unmatched in the ready-to-drink category,” said Mallika Monteiro, executive vice president and chief growth, strategy and digital officer, Constellation Brands. “We’re thrilled to have Jill and Kelly join our team and to leverage Constellation Brand’s scale and reach to support the continued rapid growth of Austin Cocktails’ outstanding products.”