Although on-trade sales generate a lower volume share within RTDs compared to other alcoholic drinks categories, the shift from on-trade to off-trade consumption in 2020 and 2021 as a result of pandemic-related restrictions also significantly impacted sales of RTDs through the channel. The convenience of RTDs, making them particularly suitable not only for on-the go consumption but also for drinking occasions at home, has been a key driver for consumers seeking a simpler alternative to preparing cocktails themselves using spirits and mixers, notably gin and tonic.
Other RTDs emerged in Germany in 2020, due to the launch of hard seltzer brands addressing the trend towards low-calorie alcoholic drinks with no sugar by several German start-ups, notably under the brand Holy launched in early 2020. Established players in alcoholic drinks also sought to explore the nascent niche in 2020, including the wine producer Peter Mertes with AQVA Hard Seltzer.
Although Brown-Forman maintained its strong lead of spirit-based RTDs in 2021, built on the enduring popularity of its Jack Daniel’s & Cola brand, its share was undermined by the relative maturity of recipes based on whiskies and cola, and the strong competition from private label. In addition, other recipes such as vodka-based cocktails with fruits made gains, notably Gorbatschow brand with various flavour extensions.
Other RTDs is predicted to record the highest growth in RTDs over the forecast period, due to its relative novelty in Germany. Hard seltzers are expected to gain from the entry of new players and growing awareness of these beverages among young adults and a growing appeal among calorie-conscious consumers.
While the trend towards premiumisation has been less apparent in RTDs than for other alcoholic drinks, including beer and spirits, it is likely to continue gathering momentum, with premiumisation strategies expected to focus on recipes with natural ingredients and a craft positioning.
While manufacturers of RTDs are expected to continue innovating in terms of fruit flavours, they may increasingly focus on recipes naturally low in sugar, including tea-based recipes, which typically contain lower sugar content than fruit-based RTDs. Three Sixty Vodka by Schwarze & Schlichte Markenvertrieb GmbH & Co KG announced in 2022 its launch of a new range of tea-flavoured spirit-based RTDs under a limited summer edition.
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RTD stands for ‘ready-to-drink’. Other terms which may be used for these products are FABs, alcopops and premixes. The RTDs sector is the aggregation of malt-, wine-, spirit- and other types of premixed drinks. These drinks usually have an alcohol content of around 5% but this can reach as high as 10% ABV. Premixes containing a high percentage of alcohol of around 15%+ combined with juice or any other soft drink are included here. RTDs are usually marketed as products to be drunk neat, with ice, or as a cocktail ingredient. Fruit-flavoured, vodka-based spirits with an alcohol content of between 16-21% are classified here. Examples: Alizé, Ursus Roter, Berentzen Fruchtige, Kleiner Feigling.See All of Our Definitions
This report originates from Passport, our RTDs research and analysis database.
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