Pre-Mixed Cocktails: Ready when you are


With pre-mixed cocktails no longer considered ‘lazy bartending’, the category is instead innovating and providing solutions for the industry. But it’s not just the on-trade that is embracing the change – perception in the off-trade has shifted too. Consumers are not concerned about their cocktail being out of a bottle or can, as long as the quality and drinking experience is there.

Jen Draper, marketing director at Global Brands, said: “Global Brands completed research of some 1,000 people aged 18-plus and found consumers value the serving experience, with excellent service a key part of what they consider the perfect drink. Whether served in a bottle or a can, the drinking experience is as important as the drink itself, as consumers look to share their evening and drinks on Instagram.”

With the theatre around cocktails being just as important as the liquid itself, venues have free rein to serve pre-mixed cocktails in a fun way, just as if they had made them themselves.

Mody has had positive feedback when it comes to consumers grasping the category. “Our clients’ consumers haven’t questioned where the cocktail comes from across any category. I launched this company four years ago and last year is when it really kicked off for us and we’ve not had a single client in that time who has come back to us and said ‘our customers don’t get it’. Our clients actually make a point of showcasing that it’s pre-batched through nice glasswear or bottles, even barrels on the bar.”

The Old Fashioned was named number one for the fifth year running in our World’s Bestselling Classics list, closely followed by the Negroni. Classic cocktails such as these are staples of the industry and will always have a place in the hearts of bartenders, but it seems they could now be becoming mainstream enough for consumers too.

Handmade Cocktail’s Raggett says: “As consumers are becoming more and more educated about what they eat and drink, the amount of history that has gone into the creation of these drinks will really allow them to feel they understand cocktail culture.”

Classic cocktails have the authenticity and history consumers increasingly look for and with the convenience of pre-mixed cocktails consumers can enjoy more complex varieties.

Pamela Jean Noble, marketing manager at Blue Marble Cocktails, thinks this is the perfect mix: “People love mixologist-created drinks, but don’t want to deal with finding and buying all of the ingredients, or attempt to replicate a true cocktail.”

While there is no doubt that pre-mixed cocktails can provide quality, authenticity and convenience for the shopper, they are still classed as part of the wider ready-to-drink sector, which has some big players. In Diageo’s annual report 2018, its ready-to-drink offering, which represents 6% of its net sales, had 4% growth driven by good performance in North America and Europe. Overall world RTDs/high-strength pre-mixes have increased by 5% from 2012-2017, according to Euromonitor International. The overall category may have only increased by small increments, but growth is growth. If pre-mixed cocktails continue to win over the consumer, they could soon be leading the category forward in a better direction.

So where can we expect to see pre-mixed cocktail in the next five to 10 years? Jedrzejewski says: “Considering the trends and tendencies I believe bottled cocktails will be an integral part of any good supermarket’s drinks section, both as single-serve low abv and multi-serve strong drinks and will most likely become as usual as pink gin or flavoured vodka in less than a decade.” While pre-mixed cocktails might not have reached full potential yet, the future’s bright.