Insights from the Top 5 Fastest-Growing RTD Cocktail Flavors on Drizly
From Ranch Waters to Espresso Martinis, these trending drinks are spilling over into the ready-to-drink category
The ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktail category is a rapidly growing sector to keep a close eye on. On Drizly, RTD cocktails now account for a larger share of sales than hard seltzers, with a 2.9 percent share of overall Drizly sales compared to a 2.6 percent share, respectively. And the number of RTD cocktail options that consumers have to choose from shows no sign of slowing down. In the past 12 months, Drizly saw over 400 new RTD cocktail SKUs added to its catalog.
With this abundance of choice, a handful of flavors have showed particularly notable growth while the top RTD cocktail flavors overall have remained steady. Flavored tequila and vodka RTDs, as well as ones based on trending cocktails like the Espresso Martini, are among the fastest-growing RTD flavors on Drizly in 2023 compared to the same period in 2022.
“Much of this list mirrors trends that we have seen in the broader spirits category, including continued growth in tequila, the comeback of ‘nostalgic’ cocktails like the Espresso Martini, and rise of non-alcoholic spirits,” says Liz Paquette, Drizly’s head of consumer insights.
While popular year-round, Drizly sales in the overall RTD category spike in the warmer summer months, and many of the rapidly growing flavors are associated with summertime. July was the top month for RTD sales on Drizly, followed by June and August. By location, Boston; Northern New Jersey; Long Island, New York; Nashville; and Providence, Rhode Island all over-indexed on RTD sales on Drizly in that time period.
These are the fastest growing RTD cocktail flavors on Drizly for retailers to know as we enter the high season for the category.
Tequila Soda/ Ranch Water
Variations on the tequila soda topped the fastest growing RTD cocktail flavors on Drizly compared to this time in 2022. From simple ranch water (tequila, lime, and sparkling water) to slight variations on the tequila soda that use fruit flavors, consumers were drawn to sparkling tequila options. This follows wider trends and interest in tequila. The agave spirit surpassed whiskey by value of sales in the United States in 2022, according to IWSR Drinks Market Analysis, and it’s expected to surpass vodka in 2023 to become the number one spirit by value. Even big-name RTD brands have entered the tequila arena.
“As a brand, we recognized the limitations of offering only vodka and understood the need for expansion in today’s competitive market,” says Britt West, the senior vice president and general manager of Spirit of Gallo, which owns High Noon. “The rising popularity of tequila and seltzers made our decision to expand into a new spirits category an obvious one. Early reads suggest that our strategy is working and that our Tequila Seltzer is successfully recruiting a new tequila-first consumer base.”
The fastest-growing SKUs in this category in 2023 to date compared to the same period in 2022 are the High Noon Tequila Seltzer Variety Pack (a new entrant this year), Casa Azul Tequila Soda Variety Pack, Cutwater Lime Ranch Water, Talkhouse Encore Tequila Soda Blood Orange, and Faux Pas Grapefruit & Orange Tequila Soda.
Large-format RTD Margaritas were some of the early popular options for consumers before the can format took over the market in recent years. In 2023 to date, the Margarita remains near the top of consumer minds—and various Margarita flavor iterations comprise the second-fastest growing flavor.
The fastest-growing SKUs on Drizly in this category are Hornitos Ready to Drink Strawberry Tamarind Margarita, 1800 Ultimate Strawberry Margarita, Cutwater Pineapple Margarita, Capriccio Take Out Cocktails Mango-Passion Margarita, and Bota’Rita Margarita Wine Cocktail Strawberry.
As Espresso Martinis and other cocktails popular in the 1990s have gathered steam in bars and restaurants, so too have Espresso Martinis designed for drinking on the go. The third-fastest growing flavor from 2022 to 2023 on Drizly, Espresso Martini stands out as the only non-sparkling RTD among the top five. The fastest growing Espresso Martini SKUs on Drizly also have a noted variation in the most popular can size and format: On The Rocks Effen Vodka Espresso Martini, which comes in a 375-milliliter bottle; Tip Top Proper Cocktails Espresso Martini, which comes in 100-milliliter cans; and DELOCE Espresso Martini, which comes in a 200-milliliter can.
Flavored Vodka Soda
Tequila sodas weren’t the only straightforward RTD cocktail flavor that saw a surge in consumer interest on Drizly. Flavored vodka sodas were also in the fastest growing flavors in 2023 compared to the prior year.
Brands known for fermented canned beverages saw growth with flavored RTDs in that time period, with brands like JuneShine, known for its hard kombucha, and White Claw, which has been one of the top hard seltzer brands in recent years, sitting among the popular flavored vodka soda SKUs. The fastest-growing flavored vodka SKUs on Drizly were JuneShine Spirits Passionfruit Vodka Soda, TRULY Vodka Hard Seltzer Variety Pack, White Claw Spirits Vodka + Soda Variety Pack, Talkhouse Encore Vodka Soda Cranberry, and Faux Pas Lemon & Mint Vodka Soda.
Non-alcoholic RTD cocktail options saw growth on Drizly as moderation trends continue to grow and push NA spirits, beer, and wine into the mainstream. In 2023 year-to-date, Kin Euphorics, a functional adaptogen wellness beverage from Jen Batchelor and Bella Hadid, led the way with the two fastest growing SKUs: the Kin Spritz (lightly caffeinated ginger, citrus, and hibiscus) and the Kin Bloom (inspired by sparkling rosé wine).