MOTH drinks: how canned cocktails have shaken the beverage industry




Great British summertime.

No one does sunshine quite like the Brits. Shirtless football hooligans, sticky humidity without a breath of air conditioning, and frankly far too many uncovered toes for my liking. But love it or loathe it, most of us will agree that the best thing the Brits do in Summertime is the indulging in a refreshing beverage. Sure – an ice-cold lemonade will hit to spot, or a fruity Pimms, or even a cold crisp larger, but you know what would be even better?

A cheeky cocktail.

If you’re not a mixologist, ready-to-drink (RTD) canned cocktails are a great way to spice up your summertime drinking.

Canned cocktails have historically had a bad rep. From the saccharine sweet flavourings of the 90s wine cooler to the original canned cola and Jim Beam ‘cocktail’, these drinks have to flip-flopped in and out of fashion for decades.

The first canned cocktails emerged as early as the 1800s when a Connecticut hotel batch made and bottled martinis and manhattan cocktails for a picnic. The 1960s saw a resurgence of the canned cocktail, with Jim Beam leading the genre with their bottled Manhattans, Whiskey Sours, and Old Fashioned’s. Bacardi soon followed suit with a canned Daiquiri.

Whilst these drinks fell prey to the fickle popularity cycle, the 1990s refreshed the genre with the introduction of hard lemonades. That’s right, say hello to the iconic Smirnoff Ice. These refreshing cousins of the cocktail paved the way for the hard seltzers of the 2010s. Hard seltzers, like White Claw, boast a high alcohol content but a low calorie count, with subtle flavourings and at a low cost.

More recently, the pandemic provided the RTD cocktail genre with the boost it needed to reach its all-time high. The world ground to a halt, and all of a sudden, you couldn’t go to your favourite cocktail bar on thirsty Thursdays. Those Pornstars Martini’s suddenly needed to get made in the comfort of your own home. Ready-to-drink cocktails were the answer to your boring Friday night lockdown problems – a potent antidote to the mind-numbing zoom quizzes.

According to the drinks analyst IWSR, the ready-to-drink (RTD) category grew 214% from 2009 to 2019. This phenomenal market growth saw everyone reaching for a canned cocktail, with even shadow home secretary Diane Abbot swigging a pre-mixed mojito on the London overground.

The cost point of canned cocktails is what makes these drinks truly irresistible. Not only do you not require the skill of a mixologist to create complex flavours and pleasurable drinking experiences, but you also don’t have to fork out the expensive ingredients. The average cocktail requires at least three components, and might even feature a top-shelf liquor or two. All that money, time and effort spent creating a drink that you may not even like that much.

Yet, it is the portability of the canned cocktail that is the major appeal. They’re the perfect casual partner for a summer picnic, bbq bev or day drinking date. If you’re after a pedigree mixology concoction to drink on the go this summer, check out our favourites from MOTH.

Oh and we recently worked with MOTH to refresh their beautiful website.

Cheers to Summer!

Related articles

Stay in the loop

Sign up to get our thoughts, work and other tidbits straight to your inbox. No spam, promise.