From spicy margaritas to strawberry mojitos: Bacardi talks summer spirit trends

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT

Bacardi's RTD Bahama Mama. Pic: Bacardi
Bacardi's RTD Bahama Mama. Pic: Bacardi

Related tags Bacardi Cocktails spirits Tequila RTD alcohol Us

What’s trending in the US spirits scene this summer? Sean Eckhardt, Senior Vice President of US Sales at Bacardi, tells us how the company is tracking continued growth in tequila, RTDs and rum.

BD: What flavors are trending in US spirits this summer?

SE: During the summertime, RTDs become the focal point once again, with RTDs and tequila accounting for 25% of sales during Memorial Day. The spotlight is on vibrant flavors, such as fruity sweetness, berries, and invigorating freshness. As for tequila enthusiasts, they are eagerly exploring novel tastes for their margaritas and mojitos, with watermelon, strawberry, and coconut emerging as popular choices.

Overall, the flavors of this summer are made up of fruity flavors, accentuated by hints of citrus, mint, and tropical fruits.

BD: What are the most popular cocktails this summer?

SE: While RTDs are holding strong as a top seller this summer, tequila, and rum are experiencing a huge surge in popularity among cocktail enjoyers. Leading the charge is the margarita, Moscow mule, and mojito. Consumers are experimenting with new flavors of margaritas and mojitos with watermelon, strawberry, and coconut being some of the top tastes.

BD:​ How do you expect to see the RTD category evolve this year (and beyond)? Is there still growth to come?

SE: RTDs have witnessed remarkable growth, currently surpassing all other spirits categories by nearly 30%. Their volume experiences a significant surge during the summer season, commencing from Memorial Day Weekend and extending through September.

bacardi inset caza

This rise in popularity can be attributed to consumers seeking convenient, portable, and easily accessible options for summer gatherings, beach outings, and similar occasions.

Notably, during the previous year's Memorial Day, RTDs and Tequila accounted for a substantial 25% of sales. 

Those results perfectly frame up the success of our CAZADORES 100% agave tequila RTDs, available in popular cocktails of Margarita, Spicy Margarita and Paloma. 

Bacardi takes pride in offering an array of RTDs featuring different spirits, additionally offering BACARDÍ premium rum canned cocktails, which recently launched Ocean Punch and Rum Punch flavors.

BD: What do you think makes a particular RTD launch stand out from the crowd?

SE: For us, it’s all about premium quality. There are so many options to choose from in this space and how we stand out is using quality ingredients, starting with our base spirits. For example, our BACARDÍ Real Rum Canned Cocktails use BACARDÍ Superior as the base spirit, real sugarcane and all-natural flavors. It’s also regularly tapping into bartenders and ambassadors for their insight into what new trends they’re observing and what people are drinking. 

Our BACARDÍ Real Rum Canned Cocktails bring the taste of summer with flavors like Ocean Punch, Piña Colada, Mojito,Rum Punch and the Bahama Mama – just naming them makes me think of being by the water and under the sun.

BD:​ What trends are you seeing within the tequila category?

SE: The popularity of tequila can be attributed to several factors, but as the category continues to increase in popularity, we are seeing consumers take a closer look at the ingredients and production process that goes into the tequila they are drinking.

Since the brand's inception, PATRÓN is one of the few tequila brands that has remained dedicated to a traditional, handcrafted production process.

bacardi se
Sean Eckhardt

We make tequila in the very best way - by hand and in small batches using only three natural ingredients – agave, water and yeast – we’re very proud of that.

We’ve remained committed to achieving perfection, proven true by the launch of PATRÓN El Alto, which will allow PATRÓN to propel even further in the industry with this step into the prestige category — a segment forecasted to double in size by 2025. 

Even more recently was the launch of PATRÓN El Cielo – our prestige silver tequila. Within tequila the greatest traction has been seen in the premium segment.

The amount of tequila consumers are at an all-time high, for a variety of reasons, but one of the key drivers we’re seeing is the versatility of the spirit.

Whether it’s used in a cocktail with our iconic PATRÓN Silver, or sipped alone like our first prestige tequila, PATRÓN EL ALTO, there’s an assortment of ways for consumers to enjoy the expression based on their own preferences and palettes.

BD: How do you think inflation and cost-of-living worries are going to affect summer entertaining?

SE: While we certainly recognize the impact of inflation on consumers’ wallets, we see that people are still treating themselves, and that includes in their choices of spirits brands.

People still want affordable luxuries and, for us, that translates to a premium cocktail. PATRÓN has launched two premium products.

First is PATRÓN EL ALTO, composed of Extra Añejo—aged for four years—and blended with exceptional Añejo and Reposado tequilas.

And, most recently, PATRÓN El Cielo – a prestige silver tequila distilled four times for an ultra-smooth finish. The response from retailers and consumers has been incredible. Within two weeks, PATRÓN EL ALTO sold out on ReserveBar, a first for the e-tailer, and was named one of Drizly’s Top New Releases to close out 2022. 

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