The Ready to Drink (RTD) spirits category has emerged in Ireland in recent years, and is set to continue growing in popularity this summer, according to figures compiled by Drinks Ireland.
The category includes hard seltzers and ready to drink cocktails many of which have hit shelves for the first time since 2020.
These drinks took the global market by storm during the pandemic, with the volume of sales up by 14% in 2021 and 26% in 2020.
This trend was mirrored here, according to Drinks Ireland. Last year, sales of cocktails and long drinks in Ireland grew by 60% and hard seltzers were up by 46%.
This comes as overall alcohol consumption continues to decline in Ireland, down by 4.7% between 2020 and 2021, and 33% since 2001.
The majority of sales were imported RTD products, but a number of local producers have entered the market, with sales of Irish RTD brands up by 7.4% between 2020 and 2021.
One new Irish brand is Little & Green, sparkling canned cocktails made using Poitín. Colin Staunton, Marketing Director at Intrepid Spirits, co-creators of Little & Green, said: “The growth in RTDs as a category is well known and in mature RTD markets like the US, UK and Japan, they are already in their second and third waves of innovation in this regard. While Ireland is a relatively immature RTD market we saw that there was demand for an authentic sparkling canned cocktail using ingredients that were formulated specifically for the Irish consumer. We are passionate believers in the poitín category and Little & Green was created with the award-winning team at BAR 1661, home to the world’s largest selection of poitín and the palates behind the bestselling Irish brand Craft Cocktails.”
The RTD market is promising as Vincent McGovern, Director of Spirits at Drinks Ireland has pointed out: “RTDs are another great innovation in the Irish spirits market that consumers have responded positively to. There are a diverse range of flavours and low-calorie options. We are seeing Irish suppliers jump on this trend, and this is set to continue.”