Coca-Cola is aiming to launch an alcoholic drink for the first time in its 125-year history with an alcopop-style product in Japan. The company is reportedly experimenting with the creation of a type of Japanese alcopop called Chu-Hi, containing distilled shochu alcohol mixed with flavoured carbonate water.
As consumers shift away from sugary sweetened beverages, companies such as Coke have sought to refresh their portfolios with new products and by purchasing water and tea brands.
Jorge Garduño, Coca-Cola’s Japan president, said: “This is a canned drink that includes alcohol; traditionally, it is made with a distilled beverage called shochu and sparkling water, plus some flavouring.
“We haven’t experimented in the low-alcohol category before, but it’s an example of how we continue to explore opportunities outside our core areas.”
Garduño, who did not specify a timeline for when the new product will be launched, added: “Coca-Cola has always focused entirely on non-alcoholic beverages, and this is a modest experiment for a specific slice of our market.
“The Chu-Hi category is found almost exclusively in Japan. Globally, it’s not uncommon for non-alcoholic beverages to be sold in the same system as alcoholic beverages. It makes sense to give this a try in our market.”
However, due to the “unique and special” qualities of the Japanese market, Garduño said that it is likely beverage will only go on sale within Japan.