Other trends are more promising. The loosening of COVID restrictions is drawing consumers back to bars, and “on-premise is where brands are born,” Mandelbaum said. “If we want to be successful off-premise, it’s critical that we succeed on-premise.”
Hartwall’s press materials cite data projecting the ready-to-drink cocktail market would grow volumes by 72% in the U.S. between 2019 and 2024.
Consumers have also become more receptive to canned cocktails, Mandelbaum argued, citing convenience, consistency and flavors that are bolder and less sugary than their seltzer-based cousins.
“People in general love bartender-quality drinks, but they don’t want to be bartenders themselves,” he said. “Doing that is messy, it involves a lot of ingredients, and sometimes the outcome is not what you desire. Today, I feel RTD goes beyond convenience. It's about flavor and taste. It’s about high quality, less sugary, natural ingredients to deliver a more elevated experience.”
The Long Drink also has eyes on cultural relevancy and counts celebrity investors including the actor Miles Teller, the DJ Kygo, and pro golfer Rickie Fowler.
Will Finnish Long Drink make an effort to distinguish itself from others in the space?
“I don’t think we need to,” Mandelbaum said. “We have a broader perspective, which is to become part of culture and be something that people can all enjoy. If you go back to the premise of why the Long Drink was created, it was so that everyone and anyone could enjoy the drink. That’s what we're going for.”