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Spirits-Based RTDs Expanding At A Rapid Clip

September 24, 2021

Consumers can’t seem to get enough of spirits-based RTDs, and producers are obliging, with the category proliferating at warp speed. In Fort Collins, Colorado, Wilbur’s Total Beverage doubled the number of spirits-based RTD selections and increased shelf space dedicated to them in late 2019. The store now carries more than 150 SKUs. “Our RTD sales in 2020 were basically three times the previous year, and we’re not seeing that trend drop to pre-pandemic levels anytime soon,” says owner Mat Dinsmore. “Although sales this year aren’t doing quite as well as we did in 2020, RTDs continue to outperform many spirits categories.”

The Washington, D.C.-based Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) is looking to reduce federal excise taxes on spirits-based RTDs to the same level as beer and allow them to be sold anywhere beer is sold. “If we got the taxation and distribution right in the United States, we would be looking at a 250 million (2.25-gallon) case RTD market,” says David Ozgo, senior vice president of economic and strategic analysis at DISCUS. Market Watch has more on the rapidly expanding spirits-based RTD category.—Kevin Barry

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