Coca-Cola and Molson Coors are expanding their fast-growing partnership with the launch of a ready-to-drink cocktail.
The companies said Topo Chico Spirited, the third drink to be introduced by the beverage makers since they first joined in 2020, will debut in more than 20 markets across the U.S. in 2023.
The RTD cocktails will be made with 100% real spirits, including premium tequila from Mexico and feature familiar cocktails common on bar and restaurant menus across the country. Molson Coors will produce, distribute and market Topo Chico Spirited.
"Taking inspiration from the popular cocktails made in bars and restaurants today, Topo Chico Spirited will bring something completely different to our aisle," David Coors, Molson Coors' vice president of next generation beverages, said in a statement. "We believe Topo Chico Spirited will shake up the canned cocktail space.”
Ready-to-drink cocktails were the fastest growing spirits category in both revenue and volume in 2021, according to a recent report issued by the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS). It estimated supplier revenue for these cocktails and spirits rose 42.3% to $1.6 billion. The trade group found more than half of adults surveyed prefer spirits-based beverages to other RTD choices.
The decision to take Topo Chico into canned cocktails is a logical extension given the popularity of the category and the recent success of the mineral water brand Coca-Cola purchased five years ago. The soda maker and Molson Coors first launched Topo Chico Hard Seltzer in the U.S. in 2021. The alcoholic drink is currently the fastest-growing brand in its competitive set over the latest 52-week period, the companies said.
Since then, the companies have rolled out a line of ready-to-drink spiked lemonades based on Coca-Cola’s refrigerated juice brand Simply. Coca-Cola also has partnered with Brown-Forman on plans to introduce an RTD cocktail combining Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey and the iconic soda brand, and with Constellation Brands on a Fresca Mixed cocktail.
Despite its multiple deals and drinks, Coca-Cola’s CEO James Quincey said recently that alcoholic beverages are in the “experimentation bucket” as the beverage giant gauges whether the category “can demonstrate traction, momentum” for the company to make a meaningful investment.