Top 10 biggest-selling RTDs
Last year, eight ready-to-drink (RTD) brands registered a breach of the one million nine-litre-case sales mark. This year, five more have joined the ranks. But which 10 RTDs came out on top?
Towards the end of 2022, IWSR Drinks Market Analysis reviewed 10 focus markets, including China, the US, Australia and the UK, and predicted the RTD category would grow by 24% in volume over the next five years, led by spirits-based cocktails and long drinks.
The study also found that the RTD category in these key markets would increase in value by an impressive US$11.6 billion during this period.
One brand riding the sector’s wave of success is The Finnish Long Drink, backed by actor Miles Teller. In Finland, ‘long drink’ refers to a mix of gin and, most commonly, grapefruit soda. The company’s case sales more than doubled in 2022, soaring by 114.2% to surpass the million-case mark for the first time.
Also joining the million-case club was Pernod Ricard’s Malibu RTD brand, with sales up by 96.9% in 2022 compared with the previous year.
The US is seeing new markets and players in the RTD category. In February 2023, California and Texas introduced bills for spirit-based RTDs to be sold in grocery and convenience stores.
Meanwhile in the UK, RTD brands including Moth Drinks and Trip joined together to launch a campaign calling on the on-trade to adopt canned cocktails.
All of this suggests the category’s future is bright, especially when combined with the low-and-no sector: IWSR projects that non-alcoholic RTD products in the US will grow by 18% in volume between 2022 and 2026, driven by pre-mixed cocktails.
Scroll through to discover the top 10 best-selling RTDs of 2022, listed in order of their nine-litre-case sales.
Data listed is to one decimal place for ease of reading, but the percentage changes are based on the full data supplied to The Brand Champions 2023 report.
10. 1800 Ultimate Margs
% change: -11.2%
Place last year: N/A
As Proximo Spirits declined to share its sales data with The Spirits Business last year, its brands were omitted from our report. This year, however, we have been able to include two of its brands in our top 10 list, the first of which is its bottled Ultimate Margs range.
Despite an 11.2% dip, the Tequila brand still recorded 1.2m case sales of its ready-to-serve Margarita portfolio, which includes flavours such as Strawberry, Passion Fruit, Mango, Blood Orange, and Black Cherry.
9. Campari Soda
% change: 1.3%
Place last year: 8
While this 10% ABV pre-mixed apéritif from the Campari Group saw some growth in 2022 (1.3%), its figures are no way near as impressive as those it recorded the year prior, when the brand witnessed a sales leap of 33.3%.
Nevertheless, it has still out-performed its pre-pandemic figures, which the Italian firm will no doubt be pleased with.
8. Jose Cuervo Authentic Margs
% change: -11.2%
Place last year: N/A
Another newcomer to the list, all expressions in the Authentic Cuervo Margaritas line-up are made exclusively with Jose Cuervo Tequila, and are presented at 9.95% ABV.
In the last year, the brand has witnessed an 11.2% drop in sales, which may be a result of the growing trend of home bartending.
Flavours in the portfolio include Classic Lime, Strawberry Lime, Mango, Grapefruit-Tangerine, Raspberry, Pink Lemonade, Coconut-Pineapple, Watermelon, Red Sangria, Orange-Pineapple, and Cherry Limeade, and the brand has even created a line-up of ‘no-guilt Light Margaritas’.
7. Jack Daniel’s Country Cocktails
% change: 24.2%
Place last year: 7
While it has kept the number seven spot on our list, Jack Daniel’s Country Cocktails has continued going from strength to strength. The brand has now enjoyed year-on-year growth for six consecutive years, and will top 4m cases in 2023 if it can continue this trajectory.
Owned by Brown-Forman, the RTDs include eight flavours: Black Jack Cola, Cherry Limeade, Berry Punch, Downhome Punch, Lynchburg Lemonade, Watermelon Punch, Southern Peach, and Southern Citrus.
6. New Mix
% change: 23.0%
Place last year: 4
Brown-Forman’s New Mix RTD bounced back after a tricky post-pandemic year. After reporting an 8.5% decline in 2021, dropping from 8.0m cases to 7.4m, the Tequila-based serve saw an impressive 23.0% leap last year, taking it up to 9.1m case sales.
The brand first launched in Mexico more than 20 years ago, and the RTD range offers classic cocktails, such as the Paloma, in pre-mixed formats using El Jimador Tequila.
% change: -11.6%
Place last year: N/A
Available in Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore, and Philippines, Horoyoi is a popular canned chu-hi beverage with an alcohol content of 3% ABV. The RTDs include flavours such as peach, lemon, and grape.
With a variety of unique flavours offered year-round, as well as highly anticipated limited edition seasonal editions, the Suntory-owned brand has consistently sold in excess of 10m cases over the last five years, however for the first time since the pandemic, it suffered a sales drop in 2022, taking it from 12.3m cases down to 10.8m.
4. Jack Daniel’s RTDs (excluding JD Country Cocktails)
% change: 4.6%
Place last year: 6
Take Brown-Forman’s Jack Daniel’s Country Cocktails brand out of the mix, and its collective JD pre-mixed portfolio still surpasses the million-case mark by quite some margin.
In 2022, this part of the brand’s stable grew by 4.6% to hit 11.3m cases, thanks in part to the impressive growth of its classic JD & Cola serve, which is well-known and loved around the world. This segment of the brand’s pre-mixed option had a solid 2022, growing by 6.6% to reach 7.4m cases. However, now that the brand has partnered with Coca Cola, could we be about to see the thunder stolen by this named brand partnership? We’ll find out this time next year.
Other Jack Daniel’s pre-mixed variants include Jack Daniel’s Honey & Lemonade, and Jack Daniel’s Apple Fizz.
3. High Noon
% change: 94.7%
Place last year: 5
Quenching the growing thirst for spirits-based on-the-go serves, E&J Gallo-owned High Noon earned the title of RTD Brand Champion for 2023.
This range of vodka sodas flavoured with fruit juice saw sales catapult by an astonishing 94.7% last year, from 8.8m cases in 2021 to 17.2m in 2022, also making it one of the fastest-growing brands of the last 12 months.
2. -196ºC Strong Zero
% change: -8.8%
Place last year: 2
For the second year in a row, Suntory Spirits-owned -190oC Strong Zero has seen sales figures tumble, this year by 8.8% down to 21.0m case sales.
The range is largely consumed in Japan, consisting of a selection of Highball-style drinks. The name derives from the production technique used to make the RTD, whereby fruits are frozen at -190oC and crushed into a powder, which is used to make the liquid.
1. White Claw
% change: -4.2%
Place last year: 1
A brand that lost its impressive momentum in 2022 was the one that kicked off the hard seltzer revolution in the US. Launched in 2016, Mark Anthony Brands’ White Claw saw substantial volume growth each year through to 2021, when it earned the title of RTD Brand Champion.
However, last year the brand posted a dip in sales for the first time, falling by 4.2% to 59m cases. And yet, its enormous sales are still more than double those of the second-biggest-selling RTD brand, so it’ll probably be a while before it has any need to panic.