Insights / Perspectives

Alcoholic Ready-to-Drink Beverage Trends & Insights

People holding bottles and socializing

The maturing alcoholic ready-to-drink (RTD) category is expected to see moderate volume growth with more rapid value growth, reaching $21.1 billion by 2027 according to IWSR. Several trends are influencing the category, including demand for higher ABV, premium offerings, and flavor exploration.

Spirits Over Seltzers

Spirit-based RTDs were the best-performing category in 2023, with total volume sales increasing by 36%, according to Euromonitor. Malt-based hard seltzers are reaching saturation, and the growth of the U.S. RTD market is now driven by consumer desire for more premium products with fuller flavors and higher ABVs. Consumers view cocktails and spirit-based seltzers as higher-quality options with more premium ingredients.

New Realm RTD Beverage Cans

New Realm


Despite rising prices and economic pressures, shoppers are willing to indulge and spend on aspirational, premium alcohol products and trading up to high-quality spirit-based RTDs. According to NielsenIQ, 31% of consumers prefer quality drinks over quantity. Consumers want to maximize their dollars in part by maximizing the alcoholic content of the drinks they buy. Premium spirit-based RTDs have a higher ABV that allows consumers to drink less and still enjoy the benefits of a cocktail. Studio One Eleven designed a custom glass bottle for On the Rocks that supports the brand’s premium positioning.

On the Rocks RTD Cocktails

On the Rocks

Novel Flavors

People are more adventurous in what they eat and drink and are looking for more playful and unique products and experiences. NielsenIQ lists “Flavor Forward” as one of the alcoholic beverage trends to watch in 2024, and a GlobalData survey found that 27% of global consumers say they typically choose “trendy” or unusual flavors in alcoholic drinks. Consumers appreciate the flavor options that both spirit-based and malt-based RTDs provide. Brand innovation is blurring category lines and creating new product categories, including hard sodas, hard teas, and hard coffees.

By: Moira Stein
Date: July 9, 2024

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The brands mentioned in this report are trademarks of their respective owners. Inclusion of these brands in this report is not meant to imply an association with or endorsement from the respective trademark owners.