What you need to know

RTD (ready-to-drink) alcoholic beverages are in a time of transition, and, as such, are seeing both ups and downs. FMBs (flavored malt beverages) experienced strong volume sales growth of 57% from 2010-15, due to a Millennial consumer base with a bit of a sweet tooth, as well as to innovation that’s matched the demographic’s interest in product trial. At the same time, prepared spirits-based cocktails and wine coolers continue to see declines, suffering from a focus on convenience over quality, flavor nuance, and, ultimately, health. A move toward premiumization in the category overall should slow declines.


This report covers on- and off-premise sales of RTD (ready-to-drink) premade alcoholic beverages, including:

  • Flavored malt beverages

  • Prepared spirits-based cocktails

  • Wine coolers

It builds on the analysis presented in Mintel’s RTD Alcoholic Beverages – US, December 2014; Alcoholic Beverage Drinking Occasions – US, May 2014; and White Spirits and RTDs – US, November 2012, among others.

This report excludes non-alcoholic mixers typically added to alcohol to make alcoholic cocktails and mixed drinks, such as:

  • “Just add alcohol” mixes designed for specific cocktails (eg Bloody Mary mix, Margarita mix)

  • Non-alcoholic mixers that are traditionally positioned for use with alcohol to make cocktails (eg bitters, grenadine)

Coverage of these products can be found in Mintel’s Alcoholic Beverage Mixers and Liqueurs – US, May 2015.

This report also excludes the following alcohol categories, which are covered in Mintel’s White Spirits – US, October 2015:

  • Vodka

  • Rum

  • Gin

  • Tequila

It also excludes the following categories, which are covered in Mintel’s Dark Spirits – US, December 2015:

  • Whiskey/whisky, which includes the following subsegments:

  • Canadian whisky

  • Straight American whiskey, including bourbon and unaged white whiskey (also known as moonshine; the report covers legally sold, unaged white whiskey marketed as moonshine, not the illegally made varieties often associated with the term in various regions of the US).

  • Scotch whisky

  • Blended American whiskey

  • Irish whiskey

  • Brandy and cognac, as well as Armagnac

Beer, including domestic, imported, and craft or microbrew beer, also is excluded from this report and is covered in Mintel’s Beer – US, January 2016, as well as Craft Beer – US, October 2015.

Wine, including still/table wine, Champagne and sparkling wine, dessert and fortified wine, vermouth, and aperitifs are also excluded from the scope of this report, and are most recently covered in Mintel’s Wine – US, October 2014.

Value figures throughout this report are at rsp (retail selling prices) excluding sales tax unless otherwise stated.

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