The rise of the RTD

Cold cocktails sold in a can are cool. Especially with younger people. ‘Ready to Drink’ (RTD) cocktails are defying market trends, with more and more people making a move to RTDs while overall drinking less wine and beer. The growth of RTD cocktails builds steadily on a trend that started over five years ago. This rise has been spurred on by COVID-19 restrictions limiting or locking down patrons from attending pubs, bars and other licenced establishments. The result is that the big names have been joined by local craft spirit manufacturers to turn to RTD cocktails.

What makes RTDs 'cool'?

The stigma of drinking from a can has gone. The premixed drinks at the lower end of the market have been eclipsed by top-end brands with stylish design and funky container formats that are slimline or smart and squat. “Consumers are driving the demand because these beverages fit into a busy lifestyle and still taste as good as the same drinks they’re already pouring over ice, without losing the premium quality and taste,” reported Forbes Magazine.

Which RTDs should you try?

An Australian brand with a recent focus on RTDs is Settlers Spirits from the premium wine region of McLaren Vale. This small-scale craft distillery distils small batches of gins from classic London Dry Gin to gin flavoured with Japanese yuzu or blood orange. During COVID lockdown 2020, the team developed their own range of tonic water to be sold with the gin. Founder Rowland Short maintains, “There are people out there who say they don’t like gin,” he says. “The truth of the matter is that they don’t like tonic. People buy quality gin and mix it with a cheap mixer. Something sharp on the edges and sweet in the middle. But make a G&T with a good tonic, and they will appreciate it.” The Settlers Spirits range of RTD G&T is presented in slender aluminium cans emblazoned with alternating white and coloured stripes. Eye-catching as they are, the coloured stripe represents the different flavoured gin used for the RTD. The deep red stripe is used for the classic Rare Dry Gin and Tonic (197819). The pink stripe denotes Pink Gin (197820), a gin made using the red coloured botanicals of rose petals and raspberries. Finally, the orange striped RTD can contains a fine mix of Blood Orange and Chilli Gin and Tonic (197818). Each has been specially mixed to be under one standard drink per can. Products like Setters Spirits RTDs are the ideal warm weather drink and perfect when you want to keep an eye on numbers while giving customers some summer fun.

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Settlers Pink Gin & Tonic

Raspberries steeped in Settlers Spirits’ best gin. It produces wonderful bright fruit on the palate – think Turkish Delight, with aromatics of rose petals  and raspberries. Finishing with crisp acidity.


Settlers Rare Dry Gin & Tonic

Perfect for a hot summer’s day. Fresh and bright citrus flavours of lemon myrtle and orange finishing with native pepper – it’s not your ordinary G&T!


Settlers Blood Orange & Chilli Gin & Tonic

Complex and vibrant with added spice (heat). Blood Orange is a wonderfully fruity citrus with  complex flavours that are enhanced by the addition of chilli.