As our world continues to favour products and services of convenience, the beverage alcohol industry saw the emergence of the Ready-to-Drink (RTD) category about 30 years ago.
RTDs are pre-mixed or prepared beverages, in which beverage alcohol is combined with fruit juice or other liquids to create the equivalent of what a bartender may be asked to prepare from scratch. The percentage of alcohol by volume in an RTD usually mirrors that which the bartender would use. RTDs typically contain between 5 and 8% alcohol by volume. Most RTDs have a white spirit base, though other spirits, wine or malt are sometimes used.
RTDs target a consumer base that favours single-serve sizes, as well as very easy-drinking tastes. The category tends to be very seasonal, with sales stronger in the summer months. In Canada, the majority of offerings are vodka-based, and SKU's tend to experience relatively short product lifecycles, as consumers are quite fickle with their tastes in the RTDs, generally choosing the newest products being introduced.