Coca-Cola is arguably the most recognisable soft drink in the world. And now, in a first, its brand owners are tapping into the rapidly expanding RTD category with the release of Jack Daniel’s & Coca-Cola in pre-mixed cans.

Launched across both the on- and off-trade earlier this month, the collaboration is a testimony to the ever-growing popularity of RTDs among both retailers and consumers. And with the marriage of these two major brands, it seems that the RTD category is here to stay.

Discussing the motivation behind the collaboration between Coca-Cola and Jack Daniel’s, Elaine Maher, associate director for alcohol ready-to-drink at Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP), says the RTD category is a “fantastic” opportunity for both alcoholic and soft drinks brands.

The category is in double-digit growth – there are so many players in the market, and that’s what makes it so exciting and dynamic as a sector.”

And for Maher, who was appointed earlier this year as part of Coca-Cola’s venture into RTDs, the potential of the category lies in the off-trade – in particular, the convenience sector.

“We already know that Coca-Cola mixed with Jack Daniel’s is a popular bar serve, so with this launch, I think the off-trade, particularly convenience stores, are absolutely key,” she says.

“With RTDs, the appeal lies in convenience – it’s all about that simplicity and consistency of serve, and when consumers purchase RTDs, it’s usually for immediate consumption. So, convenience stores are a really important space for us.”

To help drive the visibility of the new launch in the off-trade, Coca-Cola is offering advice for retailers looking to boost sales while also educating consumers on the RTD category.

Maher says: “Our sales team are actually going into convenience stores to work with retailers and make sure that the products really stand out on shelves. It’s also important that retailers know about both the original and zero sugar version of the Coca-Cola & Jack Daniel’s RTD, because its vital consumers know about the choices on offer.”

Offering merchandising tips for drinks retailers, Maher notes the importance of keeping RTDs chilled to ensure that consumers who are drinking immediately can get maximum enjoyment out of their purchase.

“We know that 60% of RTD shoppers are purchasing for immediate consumption. So for retailers, making sure that your RTD range is kept in the chiller really makes a difference in terms of the quality of taste.”

To complement the Coca-Cola & Jack Daniel’s RTD release, CCEP has launched a 360 campaign, built around the strapline: ‘Born ready to be the perfect match’. 

In terms of future RTD tie-ups, the company said that while there is nothing currently in the pipeline, they are continuing to explore new products and innovation. For now though, Maher hopes that bringing the two renowned brands together will help to raise the status of the RTD category even further. 

“There’s so much history and heritage across both Coca-Cola and Jack Daniel’s, and it’s really exciting for us to be able to bring these two iconic brands together while also offering even more choice for consumers seeking convenient formats.”