Ready-to-drink cocktail trends: What you need to know


Ready-to-drink cocktail trends: What you need to know

Cocktails are just more fun than other alcoholic beverages. Yet shaking up a good cocktail also requires more planning, equipment, and skill than pouring a chilled beer or glass of wine, which is why most drinkers preferred to order their cocktails with a bartender and drink something less work-intensive at home. You can’t get a beer wrong, whereas a badly made Mojito… not so great. A growing ready-to-drink cocktail trend is addressing this gap in the market though and making big inroads in changing consumer behavior. 

The ready-to-drink trend is driving growth

The latest ready-to-drink cocktail trends cover many consumer needs and expectations from alcoholic beverages including convenience, experience, wellness, premiumization, and flavor choice. 

Between August 2021–2022, NielsenIQ data shows that off-premises sales of alcoholic beverages in the U.S. reached $4.8 billion and increased by $63.6 million (1.3%). Within this, the ready-to-drink (RTD) sector grew by 4.6%, with hard seltzers accounting for 43% of all ready-to-drink dollar sales, though hard seltzers did decline by 10% from the previous year. 

Some emerging flavors within the ready-to-drink space include margarita, punch, and ranch water seltzers.    

A closer look at ready-to-drink cocktail trends

infographic showing ready-to-drink cocktail trends midway through 2022

Ready-to-drink tea and scones anyone?

What is surprising is that everyday soft beverages such as tea and soda are benefitting from these ready-to-drink cocktail trends too—with hard soda sales growing by 63% in the past year and hard tea by 23.8%. As with all good trends, hard soda is experiencing a revival after its initial debut in the mid-1990s.   

In terms of other RTD alcohol trends, Spirits RTDs are seeing 55% growth in the past year, driven by spirits seltzers and cocktails. Spirits RTDs also outnumber wine and malt RTDs in terms of innovations, although these aren’t necessarily capturing strong sales right now.  

Sales of once-popular RTD wine is declining, but RTD wine-based cocktails are up by 23.3% in the past 52 weeks.

In this ever-evolving sector, we’re excited to see what comes next for RTD alcohol trends. 

Want to dig deeper? 

Interested in accessing trends like this whenever you’d like? NielsenIQ BevAl Solutions are coded to display RTD trends and data in a friendly, easy-to-use platform. Actionable data—right at your fingertips.