Unlock the power of ready-to-drink cocktail packaging

Summer sips: Exploring the refreshing world of ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktail packaging

RTD cocktail packaging boxes 

Summer will be here before we know it, meaning it’s almost time for picnics, garden parties and socialising in the sun, basking in the warmth and creating cherished memories.

Whether you enjoy hosting friends and family at home or prefer to catch up at a local pub or restaurant, summer is a time when cocktails really shine. There’s something about the sun shining that makes people want to sip on a refreshing beverage - thanks to ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktails, you don’t need to head to an upmarket bar. 

RTD cocktail packaging has taken consumer convenience to new heights, and, with 37% of adults enjoying RTD alcoholic drinks in 2022 (Simpsons Beverages), it’s a huge market to tap into.

But, with 31% of adults who buy alcohol tempted to purchase an alcoholic drink by a visual ‘wow factor’ (Mintel), the impact of cocktail packaging cannot be ignored. This summer, packaging is the driving force behind the ready-to-drink cocktail popularity contest.

Drinks packaging profoundly shapes consumer perceptions

Ready-to-drink cocktails have become incredibly popular in recent years, giving consumers a convenient way to enjoy their favourite beverages. Of the 46% of consumers who have cut back on spending in restaurants and cafés (FMCG Guru’s), almost half have searched for more premium drinkable treats at home, including RTD cocktails. This will come as no surprise, considering the appeal of sitting back and sipping on a refreshing drink in the comfort of your own home.

Though the taste of the cocktail itself is key, many people underestimate the importance of RTD packaging, even though it can hugely impact consumer perceptions of the product and the brand.

Packaging is often the first thing a consumer sees of a brand and can be all it takes to sway them into making the pre-first-sip purchase. Not only does the packaging need to be functional - it needs to preserve the quality of the drink and avoid spillages during transit - but it also needs to convey the right message to consumers.

For example, the correct packaging can conjure feelings of luxury, quality and exclusivity, enhancing the product’s perceived value. Similarly, eye-catching packaging can grab consumers’ attention, helping the product to stand out on shelves and online.

Cocktail packaging box 

See how we helped Niche Cocktails make a splash in the RTD cocktail market with their bespoke eCommerce packaging solution.

"We are so pleased with our packaging. Our boxes do exactly what we need them to do – transport our cocktails safely and reflect our brand in the style and design used. Thank you to the team at Saxon for all their help"

Niche’s Operations Director Emily Mummery

Consumers expect sustainability, and drinks packaging designed with this in mind can impact how a brand is perceived. 75% of consumers are more likely to purchase from brands that offer green or sustainable products (Deloitte) and having a more eco-conscious brand can lead to improved buying behaviours from consumers, as they view the brand favourably.

This summer, sustainability will be a key part of the RTD cocktail sector, and manufacturers must jump on board.

Tasty touches everyone’s talking about

Cocktail packaging with dividers 

  • Easy-to-open packaging - Consumers value convenience, especially with RTD cocktails. Easy-to-open, ready-to-drink packaging ensures a simple drinking experience for all. Consumers want to enjoy RTD cocktails wherever they are, whether soaking up the sun or on the go, without worrying about fiddly openings.
  • Product protection - Product protection is a design element that should not be overlooked. RTD cocktails must be protected from external factors - such as light, moisture and temperature changes - to maintain flavour and quality, ensuring that products arrive as expected at customers’ doors or onto shop shelves. The chosen packaging materials must safeguard the product, ensuring consumers get an unbeatable drinking experience, just like you intended, every time.
  • Space-saving designs - The use of space is important for storage and transportation. A can packaging box should find a balance between maximising product volume and optimising shelf space while keeping a brand’s carbon footprint and shipping costs low. Space-saving designs also enhance consumer convenience, making it easy to store RTD cocktails at home.
  • Supply chain efficiency - Packaging that is durable and easy to store, handling various stages of the supply chain, reducing the risk of damage or loss during transit. Optimising packaging for supply chain efficiency contributes to cost savings - something we recently helped Edmunds Cocktails with - and ensures that RTD cocktails reach consumers in perfect condition. Our ISTA Testing Lab helps our customers by testing their packaging for supply chain efficiency before committing to the packaging design.

Unleashing the fun with branded RTD packaging

The customisation and branding of beverage packaging helps RTD cocktails stand out in a fiercely competitive market, captivating consumers' attention and creating memorable experiences beyond the product itself.

46% of customers will buy more when given a personalised experience (Forbes), and UK consumers say they will spend 15% more with brands that personalise engagements (eCommerce Age). It’s safe to say that consumers are looking for a customised, bespoke, one-of-a-kind service, and RTD cocktail packaging can provide that.

Customised packaging allows brands to showcase their identity and story

By incorporating distinctive design and structural elements, brands can stand out and make a lasting impression by sharing their unique identity and story. Customised packaging allows RTD cocktail brands to connect with consumers emotionally and create memorable experiences.

Bag in box RTD packaging 

Customisation also enables brands to find packaging that ticks every box for their individual products, even if that’s something slightly different to the RTD packaging we are used to seeing, such as Bag-in-Box.

Interactive packaging features take consumer engagement even further

Interactive cocktail packaging features, such as QR codes, can encourage social sharing. Social media can be used to showcase customised packaging in various settings, such as summer barbecues, beach gatherings, picnics, garden parties, festivals and other outdoor events.

QR code packaging box 

Aesthetically pleasing and ‘Instagrammable’ packaging encourages user-generated content and social sharing, enhancing brand visibility and reach.

Branded packaging encourages shareable unboxing moments

62% of unboxing video viewers were interested in the video because they were planning to purchase the product (Internet Retailing), highlighting that the right packaging can lead to shareable moments online. Unique packaging, such as gift sets, encourages consumers to share their unboxing experiences with friends and followers, helping the product reach a wider audience through word-of-mouth recommendations.

Cocktail can packaging box 

You can find out more about the power of branded packaging by checking out our recent case study, where our custom 3x330ml cocktail can packaging box helped Arrowtown achieve its goal of standing out against its competitors.

“We are incredibly happy with Saxon's support on our new samples boxes. They managed to bring our brand and ethos to life with the boxes and it has enabled us to showcase our products to both customers and trade buyers. Would always recommend them to other businesses looking to make an impact with their packaging.”

Rob from Arrowtown

Consistent and branded RTD packaging helps consumers recognise a product

There is a clear link between RTD cocktail packaging and product success, especially with regard to brand identity and recognition.

Consistent and branded RTD packaging helps consumers recognise the product and associate it with the brand, even in a competitive retail space, enhancing brand loyalty and repeat purchases. This can be taken further with ShelfSmart, which highlights how shelf-ready packaging is proven to boost sales quickly and cost-effectively.

Shelfsmart packaging

Transform your RTD cocktail packaging for this summer with the help of our expert packaging team. With the right planet friendly packaging, brands can grab consumers’ attention, improve supply chain efficiency and boost business success. Contact us to find out more today!

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