This is the first of LCBO's four-part series on this summer's trends in beverage alcohol. Other releases this week include: Wednesday - Ontario cider and craft beer, Thursday - "Spirited" summer cocktails, Friday - Crisper, lighter summer wines.
TORONTO, July 15, 2014 /CNW/ - Major adjustments in one of LCBO's most competitive categories – coolers and ready-to-drink (RTD) products – are changing people's perception of these beverages and inviting wine-drinkers, the calorie-conscious and those looking for gluten-free options to try something new this summer.
While traditional summer RTD products remain popular, the LCBO expects to see growth this season in products that are less sweet and appeal to customers with more sophisticated tastes. Suppliers are reflecting grocery store trends toward coconut water, craft lemonade, ginger beer, and iced tea, as well as savory combinations. Low calorie RTD options are also gaining ground, with an almost 300 per cent increase in the availability of these products from just four years ago.
In Ontario, peak selling time for coolers and RTD is from May to September and sales in this category are heavily affected by weather. A hot, dry summer motivates people to explore and buy convenient RTD products, which are a great accompaniment for warm, clear days and outdoor entertaining. This increases sales of RTDs. On the other hand, RTD sales decline in cool or rainy weather.
Research also shows that customers who enjoy these products experiment with new varieties early in the season and then decide their "favorite'" that they stay true to for the rest of the summer. Making this selection is even easier now with RTD style descriptors on each bin-tag on LCBO shelves that helps the customer choose a desired sweetness, palate impression and flavour.
Remember to be a responsible host this summer:
- Don't plan physical activities when you're serving alcohol. People are more prone to accidents and injury when drinking.
- Provide low-alcohol and alcohol-free drinks for all guests, such as Mocktails, non-alcoholic punch, pop, water, tea and coffee.
- Have food available to avoid drinking on an empty stomach. Avoid serving salty, sweet or greasy snack foods. High-starch and protein foods such as meats, veggies, cheeses, dips and breads are good choices.
- Promote the use of designated drivers and keep cash and phone numbers on hand for taxis. Be prepared for overnight guests.
"The first coolers were introduced to the Ontario market in the early 80's, and we've seen tremendous change in the category over the years," said Lisa Chapman, RTD Category Manager. "There are so many different flavour profiles of RTD products and they pair perfectly with appetizers and easy main courses – they're not just sweet and sticky anymore."
Image with caption: "RTD at LCBO (CNW Group/LCBO)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140715_C1488_PHOTO_EN_4292.jpg
For further information: Media Contact: Lisa Murray, Senior Communications Consultant, Tel: 416 864-6875; Cell: 647 339-5428; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org