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.