Why Canned Cocktails Are Taking Over the RTD Alcoholic Beverage Industry

The summer party season is fast approaching. Most Americans fire up the grill and cool down in their backyards. They’ll serve a delicious meal to friends, often alongside a tasty alcoholic beverage. Instead of playing bartender, many Americans are now serving high-quality canned cocktails, effortlessly poured over a glass of ice, to elevate their backyard barbecues, pool parties, or other events.

Canned cocktails are exactly that—pre-mixed, alcoholic beverages in a can—and the best brands are produced from premium liquors and 100% real ingredients. They can come in a variety of deliciously complex flavors and enticing mixes. 

The market for canned cocktails is booming and continues to grow. Why? There are many great reasons to choose a bar-quality canned cocktail for your next drink, but we’ll give you five of our favorites. First, a little background.

When Did Canned Cocktails Become Popular in the United States?

The first pre-mixed cocktails date back to 1892. According to historian Nicholas E. Lefferts, the Heublein family debuted the first portable cocktails in their Hartford, Conn, hotel. Club Cocktails were an instant hit with guests. People bought this signature bottled beverage at the hotel, then carried the drink home to enjoy it. During the Prohibition period, drinkers turned away from bottled cocktails, but these drinks resurged in popularity during the 1960s and 1970s.

Today, canned cocktails have an undeniable retro appeal, and these beverages are once again popular with drinkers. In fact, RTD sales exploded by 214% from 2009 to 2019. Then Covid hit and massively accelerated the popularity of ready-to-drink cocktails.  

Many consumers stayed at home because communities shut down bars and restaurants to slow the virus’ spread. People couldn’t hop down to their favorite establishment to enjoy a Mojito, Margarita, Old Fashioned, or Cosmopolitan. But as higher quality canned cocktails became more available, customers increasingly embraced the convenient RTD cocktail options. 

These beverages allow consumers to enjoy their favorite libations in the comfort of their homes—or anywhere else. Premium RTD cocktails use high-quality spirits & liqueurs and taste almost identical to drinks prepared by bartenders.

Why Are Canned Cocktails So Popular in the U.S.?

Canned cocktails currently dominate the ready-to-drink alcohol market in the United States. If you haven’t tried a high-quality cocktail brand yet, What are you waiting for? Here are some great reasons these drinks are still growing in popularity.

Reason #1: The Right Canned Cocktails Offer Consumers Both Convenience and Quality

The top reason Americans prefer canned cocktails is their convenience. One poll of U.S. customers who purchase canned cocktails found that 92% preferred canned cocktails because of the convenience they provided.

Creating a from-scratch cocktail isn’t always an option. Crafting great cocktails requires the right ingredients, tools, and proportions. If consumers want to enjoy a cocktail at home, they may not have enough time or desire to produce a winning drink.

The right RTD beverages are authentic and premixed with 100% real ingredients, eliminating the guesswork. With little effort, anyone can enjoy a consistent, great-tasting drink that tastes identical to their favorite bar-made cocktails.

For instance, after a long day at the office, you don’t have to visit your local bar to order an Old Fashioned cocktail. Instead, you can unwind with a full-strength, ready-made cocktail in the comfort of your home, like a Double Old Fashioned.

The right canned Old Fashioned cocktail will stick closely to original recipes, like mixing a precise blend of straight bourbon whiskey, bitters, and sugar in the perfect proportions. 

Reason #2: Consumers Love the Versatility and Variety of Canned Cocktails

People also prefer canned cocktails because of the flexibility, versatility, and variety they provide.  Consumers can enjoy premium cocktail blends without buying expensive or hard-to-find ingredients. RTD cocktails aren’t meant to replace an open bar at your party; they are meant to complement and elevate your existing liquor offerings.

Canned cocktails allow consumers to effortlessly expand their alcohol offerings so they won’t have to hire a professional mixologist. You can offer your guests an exciting variety of fruity and boozy canned cocktails at your next social gathering. For instance, 

  • a Margarita cocktail is an unforgettable addition to any midday brunch, and pouring a premium canned cocktail over ice is the simplest way to enjoy the world’s most popular cocktail from anywhere. 
  • The Cosmopolitan cocktail is another showstopper drink you can add to your favorite lineup. This modern classic is mixed with a smooth, exciting blend of Vodka and 100% real cranberry and lime juices. Its showstopping pink hue is sure to be the center of attention.
  • Coffee lovers can enjoy a fabulous RTD Espresso Martini at any get-together. This potent drink should include a velvety blend of Vodka, coffee liqueur, and cold brew coffee made from 100% Arabica dark roast beans. The resulting combination of coffee + vodka makes for the perfect boozy pick-me-up.

These are only a few of the options available in the best canned cocktails, and it’s easy to find a favorite variety for every occasion.

Reason #3: Canned Cocktails Are Portable

Canned cocktails are much easier to transport than larger bottles of Vodka, tequila, or whiskey. Some of the best canned cocktails come in a highly portable 100ml (3.4oz) can. These small-but-mighty cans are perfect for slipping into a pocket or small purse – making it easy to enjoy a bar-quality cocktail wherever you choose to imbibe. These RTD drinks come premixed, so there’s no need to portion out alcohol.  

RTD cocktails like the Daiquiri are perfect for your coastal summer getaway on the beach. You can also take cocktails like the delicious Mai Tai on your posh glamping trip, and pop them open to pour over ice when you’re ready to drink. Choose a tantalizing tropical blend that stays true to the original recipe, with its sweet, seductive blend of Caribbean Rum, 100% real lime juice, orange curacao, almond orgeat, and a hint of mint.

In addition, you can bring your friend’s favorite cocktail as a fun contribution to their backyard cookout. The best RTD cocktails taste as if they came straight from the bar—you can enjoy a sophisticated drink from anywhere, and you won’t get bored. These marvelous drinks are perfect for any informal or upscale occasion.

4. The Right RTD Cocktails Taste Identical to Bar-Made Cocktails

RTD beverages rival freshly made cocktails made by seasoned mixologists. Premium canned cocktail companies stay true to classic recipes to ensure that these drinks meet consumer expectations. The best producers and distilleries avoid artificial fillers and use a patented process to ensure their natural ingredients remain fresh, without the use of preservatives.

Canned cocktails also save customers time, money, mixing, and frustration. You won’t spend several hours online searching for the correct measurements for the perfect Old Fashioned cocktail, nor will you have to buy expensive liquor or exotic mixes to produce an authentic Mai Tai or Margarita.

These smaller, craft producers handle the hard work to make a consistent, great-tasting cocktail that pleases alcoholic beverage connoisseurs. The best cocktail producers also consult local mixology masters to adjust the sweetness, acidity, and alcohol levels before they settle on their favorite blend.

Like many other CPG producers, the best RTD cocktail brands set the highest standards and put each recipe through a rigorous testing and tasting process. Oftentimes, there are hundreds of different variations before landing on a final recipe. 

Once they’ve perfected the recipe, they produce small batches of the winning formula, releasing their final product to consumers only after this exhaustive process is complete. When you purchase a canned cocktail from a premiere producer that cares about its final product, you’ll receive the highest quality return.

5. Health-Conscious Millennials and Other Drinkers Seek Unique Experiences and Transparent Processes

Today’s cocktail drinkers are savvy, sophisticated, and discerning. They desire delicious RTD options with premium ingredients and a higher proof level—in sync with exactly what they’d experience at the bar. One research group tracked how millennial buying habits have changed beverage and alcohol marketing. 

According to the organization, millennials prefer alcoholic drinks which offer unique, elevated experiences. This can be hard to get in a bar, but the sky’s the limit for experiences involving canned cocktails. From a cozy night by the fireplace to the party of the year, canned cocktails can elevate life’s moments.

At the same time, though, millennials care about how their drinks are made. Young drinkers desire a “story in a glass,” which helps them learn which processes businesses use to produce their alcoholic drinks. Younger consumers also want to know if the processes companies follow are ethical and sustainable. 

The best canned cocktail brands disclose which processes they used to produce their drinks.  They don’t use shortcuts and use only 100%, natural ingredients to make their cocktails, completely bypassing the artificial ingredients and “natural” flavors that more common RTD beverages include.

Convenience and Perfectly Complex Flavors: Find Your Favorite Canned Cocktail Today and See for Yourself

The right RTD cocktail can now rival most drinks made behind a bar. For your next evening get-together or summer cookout, you don’t have to take on the role of pro mixologist and spend hours at the bar mixing drinks for your family and friends. Instead, you can enjoy your party with a delicious selection of canned cocktails that don’t sacrifice quality or flavor.

Post Meridiem crafts canned cocktails in small batches to ensure we use only the best quality ingredients at perfectly measured proportions for every drink. Our proprietary canning process protects each beverage’s flavor with zero compromise—no artificial ingredients or mysterious “natural” flavors.

Instead, we use only premium spirits and ingredients, such as bourbon whiskey pulled straight from the barrel for our Old Fashioned and 100% real lime juice in our Southside and Margarita, among others. Explore all of our award-winning cocktails to discover the perfect flavor for your next relaxed night at home or your next high-energy event—and everything in between. Shop now and have the perfect cocktails delivered straight to your door.