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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 25 years ago. Most categories in the industry hail from as far back as the beginning of time, with the most recent being more than 200 years old.
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 five and 8% alcohol by volume. Most RTDs have a white spirit base, though other spirits and even wine and 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 flavours 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.