Canned cocktails have been a rising trend in the wine and spirits industry over the last decade. Those unfamiliar with the ready-to-drink category may be inclined to write them off as too sweet, low quality, or containing too many artificial ingredients. But as the category expands, it’s maturing to become a more sophisticated, healthier option that satisfies even the most discerning palettes.
Many of the canned cocktails on shelves today are made with premium spirits, natural sweeteners, and clean ingredients. Consumers have taken note: ready-to-drink canned cocktail sales rose 5 percent between May 2016 and May 2017, and experts are predicting a 9 percent increase in sales volume by 2021. Given their easy portability and the fact that they require minimal preparation, that sales forecast seems more than accurate.
We’ve rounded up some of the best canned cocktails on the market. From boozy tea to spicy bloody marys, these brands and the entrepreneurial teams behind them are brewing up some crafty canned concoctions.
1. Owl’s Brew
Jennie Ripps and Maria Littlefield started Owl’s Brew in 2013. With their investment from Anheuser-Busch in hand, the tea lovers debuted a line of boozy teas, all prepared with a malt base, in flavors ranging from English Breakfast to Darjeeling to White Tea. Their drinks, which are lighter and fresher than many of those offered by their competitors, are made entirely with clean ingredients. The fun-loving company reminds its employees and consumers alike that “it’s all about balance, after all.” Keep an eye peeled for these canned cocktails as the company prepares for a rebranding this year.
2. Fishers Island Lemonade
A 9-mile island in the Long Island Sound, Fishers Island has a year-round population of 236 and one bar, The Pequot Inn. But they sure know how to enjoy the summer, as evidenced by their canned cocktail, Fishers Island Lemonade. Founder and lemonade mastermind, Bryona Shillo, whose family owns The Pequot Inn, began canning their signature drink in 2014. Made with premium vodka and whiskey, with natural lemon and honey sweeteners, Fishers Island Lemonade is now sold along the east coast and can be ordered by the box online. A percentage of the drink’s sales are donated to local organizations, many of whom also work to ensure that “summer never ends” on Fishers Island.
3. Cutwater Spirits
In 2016, Cutwater Spirits began building one of the West Coast’s largest distilleries, where their various spirits and canned cocktails are all made today. Earl Knight and Yuseff Cherney have a line of 14 different canned drinks, ranging from various flavors of vodka soda to a whiskey highball to their award-winning spicy bloody mary. The Cutwater Spirits team prides themselves on their innovation. All of their mixers are house-made and totally unique, and their liquors (which are used in the canned cocktails) have won numerous industry awards.
4. Half-Seas Sparkling Cocktails
With a name inspired by a 1700’s sailing term that denotes good fortune, Half-Seas Sparkling Cocktails are all about indulgence and leisure. Their three varieties, Paloma, Bramble, and Daiquiri, are made with premium ingredients, real cane sugar, and a touch of effervescence. The light and fruity beverages are perfect for a sunny afternoon with friends, thanks to the long, hard, detail-oriented work of the Scrappy’s Bitters team. Believing in living well through the senses, the team behind the cocktails spent years experimenting with bitters in order to find the best and most exciting combinations — the ones they’ve poured into these cans and made easily accessible for you.
5. Can Can Cocktails
Can Can Cocktails are totally unique from any other canned cocktail on the market. The Sacramento startup came to life via Kickstarter, and all of their drinks are made in small batches of about 3,000 cans. With only four varieties — Jenny and the Mule, White Linen, Raspberry Fizz, and Boar’s Bourbon Root Beer — you can be sure that founder, and former bartender, Ryan Seng, has poured a lot of love and attention into every sip. Each drink is made with locally sourced ingredients and premium spirits. While they can be harder to find (their limited batch size means they aren’t on supermarket shelves everywhere) they’re worth the effort of tracking down a case or two.
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