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These Alcoholic Drinks Are Exploding In Popularity, Experts Say

These beverages may outpace wine sales by the end of the year.

When you think of your favorite alcoholic beverage, what comes to mind? Hard seltzer has been all of the rage since 2019, and while some industry experts were skeptical about whether or not that trend would fizzle, it has yet to show any signs of stopping. In fact, it's dominating the scene.

The same can be said for canned cocktails. Both kinds of these ready-to-drink (RTD) alcoholic beverages have been at the top of both consumer's and industry leader's minds. For example, both Bud Light and Corona have launched their own line of hard seltzers.

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Currently, half of all the alcoholic RTD beverage category is hard seltzers, and now, new data suggests the convenient drinks will outpace wine. In fact, IWSR Drinks Market Analysis predicts that Americans will drink more RTD beverages by volume than wine by the end of 2021.

According to Food & Wine, the report explains, "Not only did RTDs post double-digit global growth in 2020 (+26.4%), it was the only beverage alcohol category to grow at all during the COVID crisis, resonating with consumers across all demographics, and driven by the trend for convenience, refreshment, and flavor."

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IWSR also anticipates a near-identical global growth is expected for 2021. The report also states: "In the U.S., where the hard seltzer subcategory of RTDs grew by +130 percent in 2020, RTD volume is already larger than the total spirits category, and by the end of this year, RTD volume consumption there will be larger than that of wine."

Remember, RTD beverages also include spiked coffees, hard kombuchas, wine spritzes and coolers, as well as flavored malt beverages (think Smirnoff Ice). These beverages tend to have a 5% ABV range, whereas wine can have between 11-15%—so comparing RTD drinks to wine isn't necessarily an even playing field.

To make matters even more confusing, wine seltzers are on their way to becoming a thing. For example, Hallmark Channel (yes, the TV channel) recently launched their very first rosé seltzer, with each 250 milliliter-can containing 8.4% alcohol.

Everyone wants to play in the canned cocktail game, it seems!

For more, be sure to check out What Happens to Your Body When You Drink Hard Seltzer as well as The Healthiest Bottle of Wine You Can Drink, According to Dietitians.

Cheyenne Buckingham
Cheyenne Buckingham is the news editor of <Eat This, Not That!, specializing in food and drink coverage, and breaking down the science behind the latest health studies and information. Read more