For decades it’s been a great ingredient in a boozy tipple and now Coca-Cola is introducing its first alcoholic drink.
You wouldn’t think the iconic drink could improve on itself after an incredible 130 years of success but mixing the sugary highs of the soft drink with good old hooch is definitely something we can all drink to.
The company is experimenting with the creation of a popular Japanese alcopop known as Chu-Hi, which mixes distilled shochu alcohol with flavoured carbonated water.
The canned beverage will hit shelves in Japan sometimes this year, going arm to arm with Chu-Hi flavoured drinks such as kiwi and yuzu.
Confirming the plan in an interview on the company’s website, 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.
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.
Unfortunately for us over here in the UK and US, the drink is likely to stay inside Japan thanks to the ‘unique and special’ qualities of the Japanese market.
The move comes as Coca-Cola and others, are facing at struggling sales in its core business of fizzy pop.
Thanks to younger generations saying nope to sugar in general, the company has been investing bigger segments like water and tea.
In the late 1970s, Coca-Cola spent a short time experimenting with wines after purchasing a series of California vineyards. The results brought a selection of wine in cans on United Airlines but nothing else.
Coke chief executive said:
There’s a lot of focus on innovation. We’re making innovations in Coke, innovations with flavours, innovations with ingredients all around the world . . . taking it into different categories than it was in before.
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It’s not just big names in the drinks game like Coca-Cola coming up with delicious concoctions.
Paul Delamere and George Grant, both 27, first tried home-brewing as a fun hobby in their student kitchen using a plastic stick and a bucket.
But still, who wants to go to Japan this summer to try out the Coke Chu-Hi?