The rise of ready-to-drink cocktails
Times are changing and a new wave of ready-to-drink cocktail products are emerging.
As much as ready-to-drink cocktails are on the rise, the sector has experienced mixed reviews from consumers. Some say they are too sweet, some are low quality, and some are good.
But with that said, recent reports reveal that the ready-to-drink cocktail category is experiencing growth as it meets consumer demand for convenience.
We spoke to The Charlatan Neighbourhood Cocktail Bar co-owner, Chris Strover, and Master Brand Builder at VIP Liquors, Keyler Weber about the rise of ready to drink cocktails, the advantages, disadvantages and what they think of them.
Strover said bottled or canned cocktails speed up service allowing for more interactions with your guests and it improves consistency of your drinks.
“It may take away from the traditional show of mixing a drink but the experience is for your guest, not you. You can still find creative ways to serve your drink. They also allow for a host of new techniques that can add to the flavor and texture such as carbonating a drink or milk washing. It also works for aging drinks in wood or glass. Some flavors marry up better after some time,” he said.
“The advantage with ready-to-drink-cocktails is that they speed up service while all kinds of new techniques and improve consistency, and the disadvantage would be if you make a mistake while batching it affects more stock so just be careful every time you mix a drink. You should not do it if there is no reason behind it,” added Strover.
He said we should embrace changes and new techniques that improve our craft instead of running from it.
“You can buy a beer or whisky and have it in the comfort of your own home for less. We are primarily in the business of selling hospitality. I think ready-to-drink cocktails are here to stay. The cocktail was defined in 1806 and we still use the formula today. It is not going anywhere. Large format pre-batched drinks were around in the form of punch before the single-serving sling was around. It just makes a lot of sense,” said Strover.
Weber said the alcohol industry is very much trend-driven, that customers are seeking out products that contain less sugar, no sulfates and even lower alcohol percentages in their beverages, and that they also want the packaging that they drink their products to be eco-friendly and easy to grab and go to suit their busy lifestyles.
“Successful companies in the alcohol industry need to continuously monitor trends and launch products to respond to changing consumer trends. Currently, ready-to-drinks are the fastest-growing segment in the alcohol industry, they meet the demands of the on-the-go consumer as they no longer need to purchase a spirit and a mixer. They have all in one whereby they can chill, pop open and enjoy,” she said.
Weber added that ready-to-drink cocktails add more products for mixologists to explore and create new exciting cocktails, that for example, they have recently launched a cocktail called St Tropez Frosé at Cubana outlets nationwide which is a combination of Ice Tropez 0% with Monin watermelon syrup, Cubana Peach and Bombay Dry Gins.
She said that the trend is a result of the consumer's demand for something on-the-go. As long as the market keeps buying, they will keep selling.