Coca-Cola, the soft drink maker, has plans to make an alcoholic drinking marking the first-ever time in its 125 years of being in business that it would produce a drink that contains alcohol. The alcopop-type product will be released in Japan.
The company wants to cash in on the growing taste in Japan for Chu-Hi, a sparkling flavored canned drink that get its kick from a local alcohol known as shochu.
The product typically has from 3% to 8% alcohol by volume. One senior executive at Coke in Japan said this move was a small scale experiment for a specific slice of the local market.
Jorge Garduno, the president of Coca-Cola Japan said that the company has not experimented in the category of low alcohol prior to this, but this is an example of how Coca-Cola continues to explore its opportunities that are outside core areas.
It is unlikely that the drink would sell anywhere besides in Japan, suggested Garduno.
Chu-Hi, which is the abbreviation for shochu highball, is marketed as being an alternative to drinking beer, and has proved to be very popular amongst female drinkers.
The big companies in Japan making drinks that include Asahi, Suntory and Kirin, all sell different varieties of the popular drink, and continued experimenting with dozens of different flavors for the drink.
As the younger consumers today continue to become more selective in what they eat and drink as health is so important, Coca-Cola has been making changes to diversify its offerings from the tradition carbonated drinks to buying companies that sell tea and bottled water.
However, late last year an analyst with a bank headquartered in the U.S. speculated that the soft drinks maker might be moving toward making alcoholic drinks, as it focused on the premium segments like the variety of different types of adult craft drinks.
The word – alcopop – typically is referring to sweet drinks but ones that have alcohol. During the late 1990s, brands popular across different countries of this type of drink included Reef, Hooch, Bacardi Breezer, and Smirnoff Ice that became hugely popular.
However, with their popularity came controversy. The drinks raised concerns that they were encouraging the younger crowd to drink alcohol in larger than normal quantities because the drink, being sweet, was so easy to drink.