What you need to know

At a time when consumers report reducing alcohol consumption, and alcohol sales are leveling off, the historically small ready-to-drink (RTD) alcohol space is thriving. RTDs posted the only gains in alcohol consumption from 2018-19, and volume sales of the two largest segments (flavored malt beverages [FMBs] and prepared spirits-based cocktails) are projected to climb ahead. Growth is driven by hard seltzers, which appeal for refreshment and, to some extent, health. Large alcohol brands are playing catch-up after a wait-and-see period, bringing hard seltzers to market. This innovation and marketing power should help sustain the bubble for a few more years.


This Report covers on- and off-premise sales of RTD premade alcoholic beverages, including:

  • Flavored malt beverages – includes prepared malt beverages such as Bud Light Lime-a-Rita

  • Prepared spirits-based cocktails – drinks such as Bacardi Classic Cocktails Mojito that are made with distilled spirits

  • Wine coolers – made with wine combined with fruit juices and other sweeteners

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)

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