What does 2021 hold for RTD alcoholic beverages?

While the pandemic may have dented 2020 sales in some places, any setback should be temporary. RTD beverages will continue to gain market share, drawing in consumers who typically buy beer or wine. U.S. sales will reach $146 billion by 2030, an increase of about 20{c25493dcd731343503a084f08c3848bd69f9f2f05db01633325a3fd40d9cc7a1} annually, according to a recent study by FactMR.

Looking ahead, RTD brands will meet consumer demand by featuring more sophisticated flavors, healthier ingredients, and various alcohols. The brands that succeed will have upped their marketing and design game as well. Here are the six key trends that will shape the RTD alcoholic beverage market in 2021.

Healthier Recipes 

RTD beverages have become lighter, lower in carbs, and lower in alcohol content in recent years, which has helped them attract health-conscious consumers looking for wine or beer alternatives. As the wellness trend keeps rolling, consumers will be seeking drinks with organic ingredients and free of artificial colors and flavors, as well as lower-calories and lower-sugar options.

Tequila Takes Off

Tequila is the fastest-growing spirit on the market, keeping pace with the RTD alcoholic beverage sector’s growth. E-commerce liquor store Drizly reported that sales have more than doubled over the last five years. Across the globe, tequila sales increased by 5.5{c25493dcd731343503a084f08c3848bd69f9f2f05db01633325a3fd40d9cc7a1} in 2019 and 8.5{c25493dcd731343503a084f08c3848bd69f9f2f05db01633325a3fd40d9cc7a1} in the U.S. alone. Those strong tequila sales have continued into 2020. Going forward, new varieties of tequila will continue to emerge, such as barrel-aged dark tequila and smoked tequila.

Sophisticated Flavors

As food culture continues to evolve, consumers will be looking for more exciting drinks than the same-old glass of rose or chardonnay. Their more sophisticated palettes will seek complex serves, even from convenient options. Expect more RTD beverages to showcase unexpected pairings of flavor, twists on classic cocktails, and ingredients such as botanicals. While lower-alcohol seltzers have driven RTD sales the past few years, several alternatives with higher-than-average alcohol have recently entered the market. Variety is key.

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