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Ready-to-drink cocktails in cans: Drinking behaviour changing amid pandemic, alco-bev brands deliver

With the pandemic gradually changing the drinking behaviour of consumers, alcoholic beverage companies are now launching and focusing on ready-to-drink cocktails in cans, like beer and soft drinks, which is also in line with the demand for premium offerings.

In line with the changing drinking behaviour of consumers during the pandemic years, alcoholic beverage brands in the likes of Pernod Ricard, Brown-Forman, Bacardi, Radico Khaitan and Diageo are launching their own range of ready-to-drink cocktails, sold in cans. The series of lockdowns and movement restrictions induced by the ongoing pandemic has significantly changed how people drink, with the majority of them turning towards convenient in-home drinking and ready-to-drink cocktail options.

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These companies are launching whisky-based cocktails, vodka-based cocktails, canned pre-mixed gin and tonic, among other variants. Not only this, the industry has seen start-ups in the likes of Jimmy’s Cocktails, RockClimber, Salud, among others, as well offering cocktail mixers and pre-mixed drinks. “Cocktails or mixed alcoholic drinks have been trending in bars for over a decade now. In 2019, the cocktails category contributed over Rs 2500 crore to Indian bars’ revenue. However, even with the category trending in bars, the format was not available for at-home consumption, which is 75 per cent of alcohol/ spirits category consumption in India. We launched our range of cocktail mixers to address this issue by removing the complexity in making cocktails at home. We see this category to touch Rs 7500 crore in India by 2030,” Ankur Bhatia, Founder & CEO, Jimmy’s Cocktails, told Financial Express Online. The brand is on track to cross Rs 24 crore in revenue this financial year, he added. Jimmy’s Cocktails currently has six offerings – Bloody Mary, Cosmopolitan, Mango Chilli Mojito, Margarita, Whiskey Sour, and Sex on the Beach.

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Rise of the canned cocktail trend

While the liquor market in India has seen change in trends in the past 3-4 years with demand for quality products and mixers growing, especially around the urban areas, the pandemic only hastened the process. “Ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages have been in the market for a few years now and continue to gain popularity in India. These products offer consumers a hassle-free and on-the-go drinking experience. The proliferation of cocktail culture birthed the concept of RTDs. The ease of drinking straight out of the pack and the innovative flavours make them popular among day-drinkers and youth. Since the alcohol content in RTDs is comparatively lower than the other spirits, it makes a perfect daytime drink,” Amar Sinha, Chief Operating Officer, Radico Khaitan Ltd, told Financial Express Online.

Bacardi, which owns Breezer, launched pre-mixed Bombay Sapphire gin and tonic in a can; Radico Khaitan, the owner of Magic Moments and Rampur, is launching vodka-based RTDs; Diageo is launching Smirnoff seltzers and its range of spirits-based RTD cocktails; Pernod Ricard, the maker of Absolut vodka and Beefeater gin, meanwhile is also innovating to reach evolving DIY (do-it-yourself) cocktail consumers.

“Globally, we are witnessing a dynamic shift in consumer behaviour, with new consumer tribes and emerging trends that increasingly demand differentiated products and experiences. In markets such as Europe and the U.S., the RTDs and ready-to-serve cocktails trend has been developing especially during the pandemic. India too is following a similar trend. From a medium to long term perspective, Pernod Ricard India is committed to invest against this potential opportunity and will play a relevant role both through our brands and their strengths, as well as through relevant acquisitions,” Thibault Cuny, MD & CEO, Pernod Ricard South Asia, told Financial Express Online.

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Even as this is a pandemic induced trend, canned cocktails will continue to gain prominence even after the pandemic as it will enable bartenders to serve their concoctions in a faster, more convenient way, said Thibault Cuny.

According to players in the alcoholic beverage industry, RTD offerings will help the brand reach more consumers since most of them are now looking for premium and easy options to add to their home bars. International Wine & Spirit Research Drinks Market Analysis, its October 2021 release, said that globally, RTD volumes have been growing faster than any other major drinks category since 2018, and are expected to significantly outperform the wider beverage alcohol market over the next five years, increasing their market share to 8 per cent by 2025.

The above news was originally posted on www.financialexpress.com

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