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Spirit-based RTD growth up 40%

The ready-to-drink (RTD) spirit-based cocktail category grew 40.7% over the last year, while malt-based RTD cocktails grew 574%, according to new data.

The ready-to-drink category meets consumer demand for convenience

The figures from Nielsen Scantrack measured off-premise outlets for the 52 weeks ended 20 April 2019.

Malt-based cocktails led the growth of the category, with annual sales now accounting for US$4.7 million. Spirit- and wine-based RTD cocktails generated larger annual sales at US$62m and US$83m respectively.

Nielsen said the RTD growth was boosted by brands “experimenting with new and interesting flavours that haven’t historically been available away from the bar”.

Within hard seltzers, the top flavour is the ‘assorted’ option, showing that consumers are looking for more choice, Nielsen claimed.

The packaging of RTDs has “broadened the scope for how alcoholic beverages have traditionally been contained” with the can format “performing particularly well”.

When it comes to generations, Nielsen said that young adults are moving towards RTD cocktails at social gathering and outdoor activities. Popular RTD occasions include outdoor picnics (32%), the beach/pool (28%) and while travelling or on holiday (23%).

RTD cocktails taps into consumer demand for convenience and provides drinkers “with something they’ve historically had to be at a bar or restaurant to enjoy”.

These newer alcohol segments are “providing expansion opportunities” across the alcohol category, Nielsen claimed. This can be demonstrated in a number of ways including new entrepreneurial companies introducing their brands to the market, existing companies acquiring other brand(s), and existing brands in single alcohol segments extending their name recognition into newer segments to try and become a ‘power’ brand.

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