There we all were waiting for a sambuca-based RTD and along come two at once.
The RTD category is apparently in terminal decline, pubs selling 15.4 per cent less of the stuff last year than the year before by the latest count, yet Hi-Spirits and Straight Up Drinks are two suppliers banking on there being life left in it yet.
Hi-Spirits, home to Antica Sambuca, has come out with Sambuca Longshots. It is perhaps not surprising that Straight Up Drinks, headed as it is by a former Hi-Spirits employee, believes just as strongly in the growth potential of sambuca and has launched raspberry sambuca and cranberry juice product Buca.
Where is all this demand for RTDs coming from? There must be some to inspire the surprising number of new entrants that are still hitting wholesalers¹ catalogues, despite the widely publicised declines being suffered by a category that had its peak more than a decade ago.
High-street bars favoured by younger drinkers are the only possible answer.
I would suggest, therefore, and having spoken to senior figures at conventional tenanted pubcos and their suppliers, that Publican readers running traditional pubs could find limited success with new RTDs.
The advice on RTDs remains that it is still worth devoting some of your fridge space to the product, but that the number of brands that will sell is consolidating down to two or three established names. If you¹re already selling out your three RTD brands in double-quick time, however, Longshots and Buca should be just the products for you.