Whether you’re out at a fancy bar or mixing up some drinks at home to impress your friends, nothing makes a party quite like a cocktail. It’s now easier than ever to enjoy bar quality cocktails at home with the rise of ready to drink cocktails and cocktail delivery services.
Already growing in popularity before the pandemic, unlike baking sourdough and Zoom parties, delivering ready to drink cocktails is a market that has continued to grow at a pace in both the USA and UK.
Here are the best ready to drink cocktail delivery services and why they are here to stay.
Best Cocktail Delivery Services in the USA
Home cocktail kits are a great way to celebrate a special occasion and a memorable gift for friends and family.
They deliver all the fresh ingredients and instructions you'll need to make professional-tasting cocktails at home. You can order as you wish or sign up for a subscription with options to create 4-12 cocktails.
Each box contains the ingredients (other than alcohol) for 12 cocktails. They recommend a liquor brand that will go well with the cocktail, but you also have the option to add your own.
Build your cocktail kit based on featured spirit brands, including Ketel One Vodka, Havana Club Rum, and more. Sourced Craft also offers a machine that pours your cocktails on tap!
4. Saloon Box
Each monthly shipment includes two recipes, with all the ingredients you need to make four cocktails. Saloon Box also does one-off cocktail kits.
Crafted Taste’s subscription offers a Mixer Only option (so you can add your favorite spirits), complete kits with alcohol, and a Premium Upgrade option with additional liquors to complement your drinks.
Why Ready to Drink Cocktail Delivery is Here to Stay?
Pre-2020: Ready to Drink Cocktails Grew in Popularity
Industry experts had noted the potential for drink delivery way before the pandemic. In 2019, Richard Wynne, founder of London cocktail bar Callooh Callay predicted to Imbibe Magazine that everyone would soon be doing it.
Cocktail delivery services come in various forms: either ready to drink bottled cocktails or cocktail kits that give you the ingredients to make delicious drinks at home.
Many companies offer the option to buy a one-off kit or sign up for a discovery box subscription, with different cocktails sent to you each month.
2020: Demand Skyrockets
With stay-at-home orders in effect in early 2020, it’s no surprise that online drinks retailers saw a massive jump in sales at the start of the pandemic.
Online retailer Drizly saw growth in sales of liquor, mixers, bitters, and syrups – all signs that more home bartenders were mixing up their cocktails.
Several drinks businesses made the best of the situation, switching to delivering cocktails.
In the USA, Sourced Craft Cocktails quickly pivoted from live events to cocktail delivery, providing work for bartenders out of work due to COVID-19.
What’s even more impressive is that they did it in 24 hours!
Delivered cocktails are also popular around the world. A recent study found that 1 in 8 Brits were ordering drinks via a delivery service in the UK.
Famous London bars like The Artesian used up their existing stock by delivering cocktails to people’s doors. While some have moved back to focusing on bar service only, many more have stayed in the drink delivery business.
The Future of Ready to Drink Cocktail Delivery Services
As bars open up, many companies are wondering is there a future for cocktail delivery services?
Simply, yes. Here’s why.
Demand is Growing
As we’ve covered above, the demand was already growing for ready to drink cocktails even before 2020. Companies like Shaker and Spoon had already been successful for many years before the pandemic piqued interest in delivered cocktails.
Many companies which pivoted to cocktail delivery are still going strong, like Sourced Craft Cocktails. Another US company called Cocktail Courier says that they see order surges remaining beyond 2021.
Analysts in the US expect Ready to Drink products to become the second biggest alcohol category by 2025. So, why is this demand growing? Here are few other reasons why Ready to Drink cocktails are here to stay.
A Straightforward Process
New technology means it’s easy and quick to set up an online store. Having noted the potential for drink delivery, it was no surprise that Richard Wynne at Callooh Callay also pivoted to delivering ready to drink cocktails.
“Over lockdown, we went from being high-volume late-night cocktail bars to being an online e-commerce retail outlet in 3 days,” he recalls.
This decision, based in part to keep his team occupied, also had the benefit of helping "our incredibly supportive community get a little luxury at home - something we were all craving.”
Baz and Sunny Kooner launched their UK-based spirit company Jatt Life two weeks before lockdown.
When the bars and restaurants they wanted to sell into were closed due to the pandemic, “we realized that to make sales we would have to deliver our products to people’s houses via an online shop.”
The ease provided by technology meant they were quickly able to switch to a direct-to-customer approach.
“As long as people can find your website, they like the look of your product and find the sales process easy; then it’s a matter of getting the courier to collect the product on time to ensure that it’s delivered safely and promptly. Get that right, and you will make repeat sales.”
James Kerslake, the founder of Tom Savano Cocktails, had a similar experience.
“We very quickly set up a direct-to-customer offering through an e-commerce website, Facebook ads, and a delivery warehouse. It absolutely exploded in demand, and we ran out of stock twice because of this, having to turn down orders for many weeks while we re-stocked.”
A Unique Experience
Imagine recreating the experience of being at your favorite bar, but without the hassle of organizing transport, queuing at the bar, and struggling to find a seat?
“Cocktail delivery is something that was missing from the world in my opinion, and with food delivery services dominating everywhere, it’s only natural that drinks delivery would follow suit,” says Tom Savanno cocktails founder James Kerslake.
Kerslake believes that creating an ethos of authenticity, using farm-to-glass ingredients over big global brands, endears them to the home drinks enthusiast.
“We wove a story into every cocktail so that the most beautiful and iconic travel destinations around the world would be brought to you with every sip, using a full sensory experience to excite and inspire.”
Jatt Life founders Baz and Sunny Kooner agree that there has been a shift to creating exceptional home drinking experiences.
“People realized during lockdown that you don’t have to go out to have a good time anymore because by creating your own bar in your garden or your home, you can entertain yourself without leaving home and that’s continued, with people inviting their friends round too.”
Convenient for the Customer
Founder of premium spirit brand Illuminati Vodka James Warwick thinks that drink delivery is the future, as customers want convenience.
“From the customer’s perspective, it is very convenient. We have all of our brand information clearly laid out on our website, so the customer gets to read and experience the journey behind our product in full before committing to a purchase.”
The convenience of a product delivered to your door makes it easier to create a relationship with the customer.
Warwick notes that once they started selling directly to customers at home, Illuminati also had many additional sales of bar accessories, "allowing customers to create their own home bar, something that proved very popular during lockdown times.”
RTD Cocktails are Here for the Long Term
With more customers looking for unique, convenient experiences, it’s no surprise that Ready to Drink cocktails and Cocktail Delivery services remain popular.
Of course, companies will always have to overcome difficulties – with many of the brands saying that finding a reliable courier service can be tricky.
However, even if bars and companies temporarily move to home delivery, it can be a grand experiment in connecting directly with their customers.
Despite having pivoted back to focusing on live bar experiences by launching a new site in London, Richard Wynne sees the experience of launching a drink delivery e-commerce store as an essential educational moment.
Asked about the potential for a return to the RTD market, Wynne notes that “should we need to pivot again, we're ready.” We’ll certainly be ready to enjoy their products when they do.
The Cocktail Society was launched to give people the opportunity to drink bar quality cocktails at home, offering a range of premium cocktail products, including a cocktail discovery subscription, premium cocktail kits, and ready to drink cocktail products.
Brought to you by The Cocktail Service, one of Europe’s leading drinks marketing and events agencies, The Cocktail Society’s award-winning mixologists develop, batch, and bottle all cocktails in-house and look after all product development.