There’s no doubt that ready-to-drink (RTD) canned beverages have been the success story of the decade. Unlike most other beverage trends where the origin lies in startup businesses that are eventually bought up by macro sector leaders (think craft beer), canned cocktails have a different story.
Although big producers had dabbled in premixed canned drinks in the early to mid 2010s (such as the Captain Morgan & Cola cans), it took Dublin-based Mark Anthony Brands to explode the concept on a global scale with White Claw. The company rolled out across the US with a strong marketing campaign and an ahead-of-the-curve product – a low-calorie, sugar-free, sparkling mixer with fresh and on-trend flavours. The success was immediate upon launch in 2016, and from 2016–2020, sales increased at a triple-digit annual rate. So much so that there was a shortage in the summer of 2019 – ironically, only serving to increase demand.
Others quickly jumped in on the trend and the US saw brands such as Bud Light Seltzer, Corona Seltzer, Truly, Mtn Dew and dozens more enter the market. White Claw made its debut in Ireland in 2020 and quickly took a foothold in the wider alcohol beverage category, and it has continually increased the market since while also rolling out to further European markets.
We are now seeing a second wave in the sector and unusually, the innovation is being driven by independent distilleries and startup brands, who are seeing an opportunity to take a popular and easy to produce format – 250ml tall cans – and create exciting new flavour combinations. Canned cocktails are increasingly diverse, and focused on local provenance. It’s a way for these companies to showcase their quality and preferred methods of serving, in a ready to go can. Ireland, of course, is arguably at the forefront of this second wave.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the latest releases from some of Ireland’s best drinks producers, and how these new releases can help drive your on-sales.
Ballyvolane Spirits – Bertha Summer Cup
Founded by Justin Green and Antony Jackson, Ballyvolane Spirits has been in operation since early 2015. Their flagship product is Bertha’s Revenge Irish Milk Gin, a unique spirit made using whey alcohol from local dairy farmers in Cork, their own well water, and a mix of locally foraged and sustainably sourced botanicals. The whey alcohol comes out on the palate, before moving aside to showcase orange, coriander, cumin, cardamon and more.
The name is a reference to Bertha, or ‘Big Bertha’ as she was known, a legendary Droimeann cow from Sneem in Co. Kerry. She was reared locally, and was bought as a calf by a farmer called Jerome O’Leary. She passed on New Year’s Eve 1993, just three months shy of her 49th birthday. Her age, and the birthing of an incredible 39 calves, has put her in the Guinness Book of Records twice.
So what better way to commemorate her than with Bertha’s Summer Cup – a premium product using all natural ingredients, coming in at 5.2% ABV.
Bertha Summer Cup is a pre-mixed punch brimming with fresh mint and cucumber notes, steadied by the warmth of caramelised citrus and underpinned with a hefty measure of Bertha’s Revenge Irish Milk Gin.
Attractively packaged, convenient and rather tasty. They are great for picnics, parties and festivals – and of course just to have in the fridge at home for a quick thirst quencher.
The folks at Ballyvolane sell Bertha Summer Cup from their online shop in cases of 24 x 250ml aluminium cans. It’s also available from The Celtic Whiskey Shop in Dublin, and is making its way to other retailers across the country. You’ll also find it at Vineyard, Belfast; Blackrock Cellar, Dublin; and Sweeneys D3, Dublin.
Funkin Cocktails – Nitro Cocktails Range
Funkin Cocktails is on a mission to show that pre-mixed cocktails aren’t all cheap artificial liquids and that the same great taste, standard and texture of cocktails crafted at the bar can be achieved in a can.
Trusted by top bartenders, Funkin Cocktails has been mixing great tasting cocktails since 1999 – now it’s your turn. Ultimately, their mission is to make consistently great tasting cocktails available to all. The popularity of RTDs and cocktails is largely reflective of a trend for consumers to have more premium food and drink experiences and it’s important to ensure these experiences are accessible at a range of price points.
However, introducing cocktails into your outlet can seem intimidating at first and there is a common misconception that to serve cocktails you need to invest in a mixologist and additional training for your staff along with bespoke ingredients that may go out of date if unused. Whether a pub, restaurant, venue or festival, Funkin Cocktails are making high quality, consistent cocktails accessible to every bartender, everywhere.
Funkin Cocktails have created the solution for this with their award winning RTD nitro cans and bottles that offer delicious serves at simply the crack of a lid, to expertly crafted cocktail mixers, which just need a dash of spirit, to purees and syrups for making cocktails from scratch. Funkin Cocktails have done the hard work in bringing together the finest ingredients, making serving incredible cocktails in your venue easy.
The taste of Funkin Cocktail nitro cans is bar-quality thanks to the widget which creates that perfect finish on each cocktail. Funkin Cocktails have a range of flavours in the RTD nitro cans including PassionFruit Martini (also known as Pornstar Martini), Strawberry Daquiri, Pina Colada, Espresso Martini, & Spiced Rum Zombie. Available in packed cases of 12 x 200ml cans, each expression has an ABV of 5%.
For further information please contact their customer service agents at email@example.com or Freephone 1800 303 742 (open Mon-Fri).