After the dominance of hard seltzer, it’s now time for RTD cocktails and long drinks to shine: offering more pizzazz than hard seltzers or beer and yet with accessibility and convenience in the can.
“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. This reflects the overall spirits premiumization trend in the US and the popularity of bar-made cocktails,” says Brandy Rand, Chief Strategy Officer at IWSR Drinks Market Analysis. “As a result, hard seltzer volume is now projected to decrease after hitting all-time highs, which will lead to more moderate growth levels across the total RTD category.”
Cocktails and long drinks (defined by IWSR as drinks that reflect well-known cocktails or spirit and mixer drinks such as a mojito or G&T) - are forecasted to spur the most growth in RTDs globally, with volumes expected to overtake hard seltzers in 2025. In fact, cocktails/long drinks are expected to command about 26% of the total RTD category by 2026, compared to 20% for hard seltzers.