Alabama Groups Push for Spirits-Based RTD Beverages in C-Stores

Grassroots campaign by 3 organizations this month using QR codes to contact lawmakers
Wall of spirit alcohols
Photograph: Shutterstock

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Three Alabama industry groups are teaming up to bring awareness to spirits-based ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktails not being widely accessible in Alabama.

The Petroleum & Convenience Marketers of Alabama (P&CMA), Montgomery, Ala., the Birmingham-based Alabama Grocers Association and the Montgomery-based Alabama Hospitality and Restaurant Association hope to bring the issue to greater light.

RTD cocktails have been growing in demand among consumers over the past few years with a wide array of options including malt-based hard seltzers, wine-based flavored spritzers and canned/pre-mixed spirit-infused beverages. This is the fastest growing category in adult beverages, the groups said.

For example, spirits have been growing every year in the last 10 years, and in the last two years, growth has accelerated, according to the New York-based Beverage Marketing Corp. Beer sales were down 0.5% in 2021, and if this trend continues, sales of spirits will pass beer in 10 years.

While this variety has greatly increased consumer choice, consumers of spirit-infused beverages can buy these items only in specific Alabama stores, meaning they aren’t widely accessible in the state, the P&CMA said.

Neighboring states such as Florida and Mississippi already have passed legislation allowing consumers to buy these beverages in grocery and convenience stores, the P&CMA said.

In June, “We are asking P&CMA member retailers to post information in your stores to bring this issue to light,” the association said. “Consumers will be given a QR code to scan in order to contact their elected officials. In addition, participating associations will be posting information to their social media accounts on a weekly basis which we ask that you copy and post as well.”

The P&CMA will send weekly updates with a social media post that consumers can copy and paste to their social media accounts.

The first one read: “Hey Alabamians, do you want the ability to purchase spirit-infused, ready-to-drink cocktails at grocery stores, convenience stores and more? Take action NOW by asking your Alabama legislators to support #RTD cocktail expansion:”

The P&CMA said it will make information available for retailers to post in their stores, “preferably on your cooler door by the adult beverage selections.” The P&CMA also gave a link to a poster that retailers can print “until we get the professionally printed posters.”

“The Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board supports allowing the sale of these products in your stores,” the P&CMA said. “Making these products more easily available increases your sales and the state’s tax revenues. It’s a ‘win/win’ situation. Please help us get the word out and help bring these popular products to your stores.”

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