Cîroc, Nütrl, SVEDKA, and Other Premium Vodkas Jump into RTDs
The Ready-to-Drink Cocktail
In the last couple of years, company Anheuser-Busch has brought a wealth of brands to the seltzer and canned cocktail market. To name just a few, they’ve brought us Bon V!v, Bud Light Seltzer, Michelob Ultra Seltzer, and Cutwater Canned Cocktails. Clearly, they have no intention of ending their streak there. In a press release earlier this year, Anheuser Busch announced that they plan to distribute their premium vodka brand Nütrl nationwide. All of the vodkas seltzers contain real fruit juice and a simple list of ingredients: vodka, seltzer water, and juice. They recently extended their line to include four new lemonade seltzer flavors. Anheuser-Busch is not alone in focusing in on the premium vodka ready-to-drink market. In fact, they are just one of many top shelf vodka producers that are eyeing the hot and growing ready-to-drink market.
The Pandemic Changed Everything About the Alcohol Market
The world has changed in the last couple years, and with it, the alcohol market will never be the same. Bars might be opening up again, but the taste preferences of their consumers have altered. During the pandemic, sales went online. Healthier products started trending. Most of all, people found a way to experience their favorite flavors at home with hard seltzers and canned cocktails. Ready-to-drink cocktails aren’t new. The first bottled ready-to-drink cocktails released in the late 1800s, and canned cocktails have been around since the 1960s. However, as the pandemic hit the United States of America and locked us in a nationwide shutdown, ready-to-drink cocktails surged in sales, going up more than one hundred percent as of 2021. And, with the ready-to-drink cocktails’ rise in popularity, comes the demand for premium products.
The Premiumization Trend
We saw a slew of vodka companies coming out with read-to-drink cocktails in 2020. This includes big brands like Absolute and Bacardi. While the market has grown drastically in the past two years, its projections are far more impressive. The International Wine and Spirits Record (IWSR) projects that the ready-to-drink cocktail market will grow from nine percent of the total alcohol market to twenty-two percent. “Consumers’ booming interest in RTDs is driving rapid growth and premiumization in the category,” said Drew Levinson, Breakthru Beverage Group Vice President, Business Development, Emerging Brands. “We’re predicting a continued and sustained acceleration in the ultra-premium RTD space based on consumers’ desires for greater convenience, innovation and elevated flavor choices.”
Top-Shelf Brands Grey Goose, SVEDKA, and Cîroc Release RTDs
The trends are clearly turning toward premium brands. This is likely why top-shelf brands like Grey Goose, SVEDKA, and Cîroc are planning on coming out with ready-to-drink offerings this year. Grey Goose is transforming their Essence line into the RTD market. For SVEDKA, they are releasing SVEDKA Tropics in three Vodka Tea Sprtiz flavors: Pineapple Guava, Raspberry Kiwi and Orange Mango. These flavors are already available nationwide. Rapper, entertainer, and business mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs owns top-shelf vodka Cîroc, and his brand has just announced a new line of RTDs. The four flavors they announced are Sunset Citrus, Colada, Pineapple Passion, and Watermelon Kiwi. In an interview with Forbes, Mr. Comb’s said about the RTD market, “When I was looking at the landscape, it wasn’t giving me luxury. We’re making the category sexy.”
Clearly, many premium vodka brands have their sights set on that massive market share. But, at the end of the day, it’s us consumers who are the true winners.