State News

Ready-to-Drink cocktails are now widely available

Following a formal announcement by the state of Vermont, beverages categorized as Ready-to-Drink (RTD) cocktails are now part of Vermont’s private sector as of July 1, 2022.

This marks a significant legal change from previous policy, whereby RTDs could only be distributed and sold by the 80 802-agency liquor outlets throughout the state.

Starting July 1, traditional class 1 and 2 licensed establishments will be able to stock and sell RTDs without requiring any changes to their licenses, according to a news release by Farrell Distributing Corporation.

As the names suggests, RTDs are cocktails that come prepared in a can or bottle, ready for consumption. They are commonly enjoyed chilled or over ice—consumers simply pop them open and enjoy. The two most popular types of RTDs are:

Seltzer-based beverages including those infused with vodka or other spirits.

Premixed cocktails such as Bloody Marys, Mai Thais or Whiskey Sours.

Consumers that buy RTDs especially value the product’s convenience and quality consistency, but they also cite variety and overall enjoyment as major drivers of their purchases. While RTDs have enjoyed the highest popularity among consumers ages 22-44, the category is seeing steady growth among older drinkers, particularly women. In fact, a recent survey has shown that nearly 1 in 5 female consumers drink premixed wine-based RTDs.

In recent IRi reporting, leading RTD cocktail brand High Noon has seen growth of 162%, giving it 70% market share of the Seltzer-centric Spirit Based category nationally. In the Premixed Cocktail category, Cutwater brand enjoys #1 spot along with a growth rate of 120% and a 38% share nationally.

Now RTDs up to 12% abv and in containers up to 24 ounces will be available for wholesale purchase. Brands launching July 1 with Farrell Distributing will include High Noon, ‘Merican Mule, Fabrizia, and Spirit Fruit; soon to follow later in the month will be Canteen, Cutwater, NÜTRL, Absolut, Malibu, Jameson, Right Coast Sprits Vodka Whips, Devil’s Backbone, and Cantina with local producers Smugglers’ Notch Distillery and Arts Riot hitting markets in early fall.

“The change is welcome news to retail outlets that are especially eager to meet the changing needs and interests of their shoppers,” said Chris Vance, director of sales for Farrell Distributing. “The timing couldn’t be more perfect as we head into the long July 4th weekend and summer gatherings are kicking into high gear.”

Farrell Distributing is a fourth-generation Vermont family business that distributes beer, wine, and non-alcoholic beverages to retailers throughout the state. It has facilities in Rutland and South Burlington.

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