Convenient, tasty, and refreshing, pre-mixed frozen cocktails are gaining popularity at the beverage alcohol retail tier nationwide. The category is expanding with freezer pops like Daily’s Poptails and Cutwater Frozen Cocktails Spirit Pops. “When the weather gets warmer in New York, these kinds of things sell,” says Michael Correra, executive director of the Metro Package Store Association and co-owner of Michael-Towne Wines & Spirits in Brooklyn, New York.
Beverage alcohol delivery app Drizly has seen a 54% increase in frozen items through mid-June this year compared to the same period in 2020. The three most popular brands of ready-to-drink frozen cocktails ordered on Drizly are Daily’s Poptails ($15 a 12-pack of 100-ml. pops), Cutwater Spirit Pops ($30 a 12-pack of 100-ml. pops), and Claffey’s Frozen Cocktails Freezer Pops ($17 a 12-pack of 100-ml. pops).
The new segment is spinning off of the RTD canned cocktail craze, and young adults appear to be the biggest customers. Correra started selling Cutwater Canned Cocktails ($11 a 355-ml. can) at his store about three years ago and recently began stocking Cutwater Spirit Pops, which he places on a rack above the canned cocktails in the unrefrigerated section. “The freezer pops are doing well,” he says. “People are receptive.”
The variety pack of Cutwater Frozen Cocktails Spirit Pops includes Tequila Margarita, Vodka Mule, Gin Melon, and Rum & Cola variants, while the variety pack of Cutwater Frozen Margaritas Spirit Pops features Lime, Mango, Pineapple, and Strawberry flavors. All of Cutwater’s freezer pop offerings are made with real spirits and contain 7% abv. “I could see the summer pops at stadium venues,” Correra says. “It’s smart because Tequila is on fire and Margaritas are the No. 1 called-for drink in the country.”
Daily’s, a pioneer of the category, launched its 5% abv wine-based frozen cocktails ($2 a 10-ounce pouch) in 2007 in Arkansas, where the brand gained distribution. “Then it expanded to Georgia, and the business grew through grassroots efforts throughout the Southeast, primarily via the independent liquor store channel,” says Daily’s chief marketing officer Ilene Bergenfeld. Daily’s Frozen Cocktail pouches come in 11 flavors and the top three best-sellers are Strawberry Daiquiri, Bahama Mama, and Jamaican Smile. The pouches are now available in all states except Vermont and sold at leading retailers like Walmart, Kroger, Target, Meijer, and Publix.
“The majority of the Daily’s ready-to-drink business is off-premise as these cocktails are designed for consumers to enjoy at home or at social gatherings,” Bergenfeld says. “At-home consumption has been growing overall and consumers are gravitating more and more to the frozen segment. Frozen cocktails are convenient and fun, and frozen beverage alcohol pops have become the latest trend.”
Meanwhile, the 6.8% abv wine-based Daily’s Poptails debuted in February of this year and come in Strawberry, Watermelon, and Green Apple expressions. The Poptails are distributed nationwide at Target, Sam’s Club, Walmart, and local liquor retailers.
“There couldn’t be a better time for Daily’s Poptails to make their debut,” Bergenfeld notes. “With the summer of 2021 poised to be all about getting back together safely, they are about the most social adult treats out there.”