WATCH: New Audiences and Innovations Shape the Future of Ready-to-Drink Cocktails

Over recent years, the explosion in craft distilleries across the U.S. has sparked renewed interest in cocktail culture and mixology. But that trend hasn’t stopped at the bar’s edge: a new generation of ready-to-drink cocktail brands are taking that ethos and injecting new life into a category that has been previously defined by flavored malt or wine-based beverages. Combined with shifting preferences and consumption habits by a younger generation of cocktail fans, the conditions for a surge in commercial growth and product innovation — particularly as individuals shift to at-home drinking rather than on-premise — are ripe.

In this discussion, presented during BevNET/NOSH Virtually Live 2020 in June, BevNET founder and CEO John Craven is joined by four entrepreneurs helping to shape the growing RTD cocktail market — Neal Cohen, co-founder, Tip Top Cocktails; Sean Venus, founder and distiller, Venus Spirits; Lawrence Cisneros, CEO, DRNXMYTH; and Brian May, co-founder, Proof & Union. Along with examining how and where the category fits into the beverage alcohol sets at modern retail and online, the group spoke about a range of topics including how innovation is driving its connection with new audiences, the impact of on-premise shut downs and the future of that segment, and how rising interest in low-sugar, lower-alcohol beverages is influencing brand strategy.