Canned cocktails, once dismissed as a sub-par novelty, are now enjoying a renaissance. As the diversity of canned cocktails grows—expanding to a wide range of options from Mai Tais to Espresso Martinis—the market share is growing with it. The industry is expected to see a 14% CAGR from 2023 through 2030. But what does that mean for consumers?
It means the quality of canned cocktails is improving. The best companies are providing cocktails with fresher, 100% real ingredients, more premium tastes, and bar-quality measurements. With their rise, the rules of what comprises a satisfying drink are being rewritten, without sacrificing the allure of a beautifully crafted cocktail. Today’s canned cocktail can be meticulously crafted, ready-made and waiting in your refrigerator.
Of course, the journey of canned cocktails from fringe alternative to mainstream favorite isn’t accidental. It’s a fascinating story of evolution, driven by our contemporary need for portability and the persistent hunger for high-quality convenience. It’s a tale mirroring our own collective shift towards a lifestyle that insists on convenience without compromising on quality. Let’s embark on a journey that explores the evolution, convenience, craft, and rise of canned cocktails in today’s discerning market.
Precursors to Today’s RTD Cocktails: The “Good Enough” Era
As we raise a toast to the current golden age of canned cocktails, it’s worth taking a moment to reflect on the journey that brought us here. The road to today’s ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktails is paved with a series of less-than-stellar predecessors. These early iterations, while pioneering in their own right, often fell short of delivering the quality and taste that discerning drinkers sought.
The Initial Perception of Canned Cocktails
In their infancy, canned cocktails were often viewed as the less sophisticated cousin of their freshly mixed counterparts. They were just the quick and easy option, the choice for those who valued convenience over quality. This perception was not entirely unfounded. The early canned cocktails were often characterized by problems like
- Limited freshness due to poor preservation methods and ingredients, leading to less-than-ideal flavor profiles
- Lack of balance between different elements of the cocktail, with flavors often leaning towards overly sweet or overly sour
- Lack of variety in the types of cocktails available, as the simplistic canning processes used weren’t able to accommodate complex or unique cocktail recipes
- The use of low-quality alcohol that didn’t compare to the spirits used in traditionally mixed cocktails, leading to a noticeable difference in taste and quality
The result was a drink that was far from the nuanced, balanced cocktails served at a high-end bar.
But Cocktail Fans Still Wanted the Convenience of Canned Cocktails
Despite the initial hiccups and mediocrity, the appeal of canned cocktails never truly waned. The convenience factor was simply too enticing to ignore. The ability to crack open a can and instantly enjoy a well-mixed cocktail, without the need for a stocked bar or mixology skills, held an undeniable allure.
The Convenience Factor of Canned Cocktails
The convenience of canned cocktails is multifaceted. It’s not just about the time saved in mixing a cocktail; it’s also about the portability and ease of use. With a canned cocktail, you can enjoy a specialty drink at a picnic, on a hike, or at a backyard barbecue—without the need for various ingredients, glassware, or a cocktail shaker. This convenience extends to storage as well. Unlike a mixed cocktail, a canned cocktail can be stored in your refrigerator or cooler, ready to be enjoyed whenever the mood strikes.
Meeting the Need for Easy Yet High-Quality Drinks
The desire for convenience did not mean that consumers were willing to compromise on quality. The canned cocktail industry had to evolve to meet this demand for both convenience and high-quality taste.
This led to significant advancements in the industry, including the use of premium spirits, real ingredients, and innovative canning technologies. The result? Canned cocktails that could rival the taste and quality of their freshly mixed counterparts.
Developments in the Industry
Despite those early missteps, the demand for a more convenient way to enjoy cocktails persisted. Consumers didn’t want to settle for beer or hard seltzers—they wanted the ability to enjoy a high-quality cocktail experience outside of the bar setting. This set the stage for the continued evolution of canned cocktails.
The industry began to take notice, and some craft brewers started to invest in creating canned cocktails that could deliver on both convenience and quality. This marked the real beginning of the rise of today’s RTD cocktails, a testament to the power of consumer demand and industry innovation.
Some specific innovations that led to the development of better RTD cocktails were:
- Introduction of fully automated canning lines to maintain consistent quality across batches
- The development of lightweight, more portable cans that kept drinks colder for longer and were easy to transport
- The advent of nitrogen dosing technology to replace oxygen in the cans, thus protecting the freshness and flavors of the cocktail
- The incorporation of organic and real ingredients, including premium spirits and 100% real juices, to recreate the taste of a freshly mixed cocktail
- The trend towards simple ingredients, with low-sugar and low-calorie options catering to health-conscious consumers.
- The rise of craft distilleries producing unique, small-batch canned cocktails that offered a differentiator in the market
- Creative marketing campaigns to revamp the image of canned cocktails from a cheap substitute to a trendy, premium drink option
This industry response to the demand for better canned cocktails included a host of innovations. Better canning technology allowed for longer shelf life without compromising taste. The use of 100% real citrus juice and premium spirits resulted in fresher, more authentic flavors. Even the introduction of cold brew coffee for espresso martinis became a reality, thanks to advancements in canning and preservation. These developments were game-changers, allowing canned cocktails to finally deliver on the promise of convenience without compromise.
What to Look For in a Modern Canned Cocktail
As the canned cocktail industry has evolved, so too should your approach to selecting the perfect canned cocktail. The market is rife with a variety of options, each brand boasting its various selling points. However, not all canned cocktails are created equal. Discerning consumers need to know what to look for to ensure they’re getting a high-quality product that delivers on both taste and convenience.
When it comes to selecting a canned cocktail, there are a few key factors to consider. First and foremost, the ingredients. The best canned cocktails are made with 100% real ingredients, from the spirits to the mixers. This means no artificial flavors, “natural” flavors, or preservatives.
The alcohol content is another important factor. A good canned cocktail should have a similar alcohol content to its freshly mixed counterpart, perfectly proportioned just like a bar-quality cocktail. This ensures that you’re getting a drink that’s balanced, authentic, and not diluted.
Finally, consider the brand. Brands that are transparent about their ingredients and processes are often a good bet. Look for companies that are open about where their spirits come from and how their cocktails are made. This level of transparency is a sign of a brand that prioritizes quality and customer satisfaction.
Identifying a High-Quality Canned Cocktail
Identifying a high-quality canned cocktail goes beyond just reading the label. Here are a few things to look for:
- Alcohol percentage: A good canned cocktail should have an alcohol content similar to a cocktail you’d get at a bar. This typically falls between 10-20% ABV.
- Ingredients with measurements: Brands that list the exact measurements of each ingredient are often more reliable. This transparency allows you to know exactly what you’re drinking.
- No preservatives: The best canned cocktails are free from artificial flavors or preservatives. Look for cocktails that use real ingredients and preservation methods.
- Brand reputation: Do some research on the brand. Look at reviews and check out websites. Brands with a strong reputation for quality are usually a safe bet.
In the end, choosing a canned cocktail comes down to personal preference. However, by knowing what to look for, you can ensure that you’re getting a high-quality drink that doesn’t compromise on taste or convenience.
Join the Future of Canned Cocktails
Looking ahead, the future of canned cocktails seems promising. With continued advancements in canning technology and an ever-growing emphasis on using high-quality, natural ingredients, we can expect to see even more delicious and diverse offerings in the canned cocktail market. As consumers, there’s a lot to look forward to.
If you’re ready to explore the world of canned cocktails for yourself, why not start with the best? Post Meridiem prides itself on delivering high-quality canned cocktails made with 100% real ingredients. With a range of classic cocktails to choose from, you’re sure to find a drink that suits your palate. So why wait? Discover the convenience and quality of Post Meridiem’s canned cocktails today. Visit our online store to learn more or to place an order. Cheers to the future of cocktails!