StateWays - July/August 2015

StateWays is the only magazine exclusively covering the control state system within the beverage alcohol industry, with annual updates from liquor control commissions and alcohol control boards and yearly fiscal reporting from control jurisdictions

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StateWays n n July/August 2015 38 A mericans today crave convenience. And in the spirits cate- gory, what can be more convenient than Ready to Drink (RTD) cocktails and shots? These products contain fresh, premium ingredients, often in small, sealed, one-serving containers. RTDs come in all shapes of packaging, including cans, bottles, shot glasses and plastic balls. They're made for the busy, on-the-go consumer. Whether someone is camping, tailgating, at a barbecue, hosting a party, preparing for a night out, or just too tired to whip up a cocktail after work, RTDs offer a convenient alternative to the time-con- suming, labor-intensive mixing of beverages. "As long as Americans continue to be Americans, with their time becoming more valuable and less available, RTDs are going to see huge growth," says Sandra Pacheco, national sales director for Southwest Wines, which produces a ready-to-drink mimosa line. RTDs on the Rise Although RTDs have been available for decades, some have been available mostly regionally or overseas. Producing mixed shots with a female focus, Twisted Shotz has operated for 20 years in New Zealand and Australia, where comparatively lower taxes on RTDs drive consumer demand. In the U.S., the RTD market has picked up considerably within the past five or so years after a period of stagnation. New brands are launching original, diverse entries into this growing category. Customers can now choose from a bevy of options when they want a convenient cocktail. "Making shots is difficult," says Harley Bauer, who in 2013 co-founded LIQS, maker of premium RTD shots. "Most people don't know the correct proportions for shots. And you need a shaker. We were thinking, 'There's got to be an easier way to make shots'. And we saw the potential for making something like that." Many RTD companies were born from their founders want- ing to merge quality with portability. "I was drinking cocktails by the pool, grading papers, when I thought 'I shouldn't have this glass by the pool'," says teach- er-turned-entrepreneur Merrilee Kick, who first conceived of her product BuzzBalls in 2008. "So I brought the glass inside and then I thought, 'Wouldn't it be cool to have a little round bottle ball with a cocktail inside?'" NO MIXING REQUIRED Ready to drink cocktails offer convenient refreshment BY KYLE SWARTZ

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