Coca-Cola is set to produce its first alcoholic drink – an alcopop-style product in Japan.
According to reports, the global giant is keen to cash in on Japan’s growing taste for Chu-Hi – canned sparkling drinks including a local spirit named shochu. Chu-Hi is typically between 3% and 8% ABV
Jorge Garduno, Coca-Cola’s Japan President, says the new product is a “modest experiment for a specific slice of our market”.
“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,” he says.
Garduno suggested the new drink is unlikely to be sold outside Japan.
Howard Telford, Head of Soft Drinks for Euromonitor International, says the new product will be a departure for Coca-Cola but it reflects the way that changing consumer tastes are pushing the company into less familiar areas. “This also reflects a culture change at the company in terms of product development: company leadership have spoken recently about being less afraid to experiment in terms of innovation – and dipping a toe into this category makes particular sense in Japan where the style of beverage is more familiar to consumers and the pace of CPG innovation is faster,” says Telford. “While I don’t think this represents a global shift in company strategy, I do think we can expect Coca-Cola and its competitors to continue looking for new opportunities as traditional category lines and beverage occasions blur.”