Aim. To report patterns of use of ready to drinks (RTDs) and to assess if RTD consumers have heavier drinking patterns. RTDs were introduced in 1995. Method. Data from a general population sample of 7201 respondents aged 14–65 years, in New Zealand in 2004, were modelled. Results. Nineteen per cent of respondents consumed RTDs. Respondents aged 14–17 and 18–24 years and females were the largest consumers of RTDs. Compared to beer, wine or spirits, being an RTD consumer predicted (1) higher typical occasion quantities for respondents aged 14–17, 18–24 and 25+ years and (2) heavier drinking for those aged 14–17 and 18–24 years. When amounts of beverages consumed were modelled, quantity of RTDs predicted higher typical occasion quantities among females of all ages. Among males beer was more predictive. Similar results were found for the heavier drinking measure. For 14–17-year-old females, RTDs consumption predicted higher annual frequency, but for the other females and males the amount of wine or beer consumed predicted higher frequency. Conclusion. RTDs were most popular among young people aged 14–17 years, and females. RTDs predicted higher typical occasion alcohol consumption and heavier drinking better than any other beverage for females aged 14–17 years. For the other age and gender groups, other beverages predicted higher quantity and frequency consumption.