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A Look at the Ready-to-Drink Economy

By: Brian Wallace


Best friends toasting mojito drinks at fashion cocktail bar restaurant - Party time concept with young people having drunk fun drinking on happy hour at pub - Focus on lower left glass - Vivid filter

The alcohol industry in the US is absolutely gigantic.   It provides over 4 million jobs and is responsible for $70 billion in tax revenue in an average year.  However, 2020, as we all know, was nothing close to average, and with the rise of stress, illness, quarantines, and isolation came a boost in alcohol consumption as well. 

In fact, alcohol purchases grew by 14% from 2019 to 2020.  Also, with the necessity for home bartending, 44% of Americans began making their alcohol purchases online and the online sale of alcohol rose by 243%.  Thanks, COVID. 

Pandemics aside, we don’t require much reason to drink our favorite drinks.  Statistically, the top reasons for Americans to get tipsy are birthdays (83%), engagements (78%), anniversaries (77%), promotions (62%), and graduations (59%), and now, we might as well through pandemics into that list too. 

Fortunately, there were a few tasty things to come out of COVID, such as some delightful “Quarantinis”, such as the Kumquarantini with kumquat syrup, the Charmin Quarantini, with toilet water (just kidding, the cocktail is actually delicious), and the Kombucha Quarantini with kombucha, gin, and blackberries.  Interestingly, COVID isn’t the first pandemic to produce new cocktails either.  The Spanish Flu of 1918 actually brought us the Corpse Reviver, the Medicina Latina, and the Penicillin Cocktail.  

Cocktails have been one of the commemorative items to mark many events in our global, national, and personal histories.  Gin and Tonic, one of the most famous classic cocktails, was created in the 19th century by Brits who adopted it as a health tonic for traveling to hotter climates, such as that of India. 

Then there’s the Mai Tai, which was created in 1944 by Victor J. Bergeron.  The drink originally excluded pineapple and orange juice, but these ingredients were added by the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in 1954, and thus the modern Mai Tai was born.  The Pina Colada was also created and popularized in 1954, by Ramon “Monchito” Marrero and the Caribe Hilton in San Juan.  The delicious blend of rum, coconut cream, and pineapple juice was named the official drink of Puerto Rico in 1978.  

Today, cocktail creations have certainly not slowed down.  One of the most modern cocktails is a twist on the classics with ready-to-drink.  Ready-to-drink cocktails are just that.  They require no prep work, no mixing, and no clean up afterward.  These cocktails were already growing in popularity, but with a boost from our friendly COVID pandemic, ready-to-drink purchases rose by 43% worldwide just last year.  Now that bars are opening back up, we still don’t expect the ready-to-drink so lose any popularity contests.  In fact, these cocktails are expected to make up 20% of alcoholic ecommerce by 2024.  

Perhaps future generations will look back on the history of cocktails again and ready-to-drink cocktails will be the legacy of our personal pandemic.  Let’s drink to that! 

Ready To Drink Cocktails

Published: May 21, 2021

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Brian Wallace

Brian Wallace

Brian Wallace is the Founder and President of NowSourcing, an industry leading infographic design agency based in Louisville, KY and Cincinnati, OH which works with companies that range from startups to Fortune 500s. Brian also runs #LinkedInLocal events nationwide, hosts the Next Action Podcast, and has been named a Google Small Business Advisor for 2016-2018.

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