Premixed Cocktails: ‘An Opportunity for Growth’

Premixed cocktails

Beer is synonymous with c-stores—and yes, wine is doing well, too. But there’s a smaller subcategory within alcohol that is worth keeping tabs on: premixed cocktails.

“This is a growing trend, so it’s an opportunity for c-stores to carve out a new growth niche,” says Susan Viamari, vice president of thought leadership for IRI, Chicago. “It’s an opportunity to differentiate. It’s an opportunity to find growth.”

As it stands, premixed cocktails are experiencing double-digit growth, with unit sales increasing 27.8% and dollar sales increasing 24.2% in multioutlet channels, which includes gas/c-stores, supermarkets, drug stores, mass market, military commissaries and select club and dollar chains, during the 52 weeks ending Oct. 2, 2016, according to IRI.

Jose Cuervo Margarita

Among the classic cocktails seeing a renaissance in the premixed space is the margarita. Known for its tequila, Jersey City, N.J.-based Proximo Spirits’ Jose Cuervo is among IRI’s top 20 brands of premixed cocktails/coolers for its ready-to-serve margaritas.

It offers three varieties in 1.75-liter bottles: Golden Margarita, Authentic Margarita and Light Margarita.

Some of the other premixed-cocktail brands in the top 20, which includes several malt-beverage brands, are:



Buzzballz: These mixed drinks from Carrollton, Texas-based Buzzballz Inc. come in round packages and are made from vodka, rum or tequila, as well as 100% juices. Varieties include Ginger Mule, Tea-Licious, Lotta Colada and Tequila ’Rita.


Kahlua White Russian

Kahlua: This brand from Pernod Ricard USA, New York, offers premixed, ready-to-drink bottles of White Russian, Vanilla White Russian, Mudslide and Kahlua with Milk. Varieties are available in a single-serving 200-mL size and a larger 1.75-liter size.



Hpnotiq: From Bardstown, Ky.-based Wingard Imports Ltd., Hpnotiq features a blend of French vodka, cognac and tropical fruit juices.

“All the different types of flavors that are out there is a huge win for premixed cocktails,” Viamari says. “That’s one of the reasons that cocktails in general are doing well. It’s that opportunity to experiment with the flavor, mix and match—kind of get outside the box.”

Premixed cocktails are particularly appealing to younger drinking-age consumers,  usually female and middle- to higher-income demographics, Viamari says.

“This really is a newer, smaller category that’s growing really well, so why not ride the wave of that growth?” she says.