There are strong indications that Coca Cola is preparing to start producing its first alcoholic drink in its 132-year-history, with plans to launch an alcopop in Japan.
The world’s biggest soft drinks company said it would start making a version of “Chu-Hi” – canned sparkling flavoured drinks that include a local spirit called shochu.
The product is typically between 3 per cent and 8 per cent alcohol by volume.
BBC reports that Jorge Garduno, Coca-Cola Japan president, said the drink will be 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.
“It is unlikely the drink would be sold outside of Japan.”
The move into alcohol comes as Coca-Cola, like other large food groups, has faced shrinking sales in its core business: fizzy drinks. As a younger generation of consumers shun sugar, Coke has been investing in products in faster-growing segments, such as water and tea.
Last November, Wells Fargo analyst Bonnie Herzog speculated that Coca-Cola might move into alcohol, as it looked to “premium segments such as adult craft beverages”.
The phrase alcopop, with which the company hopes to model its alcoholic drink, typically refers to sweet but alcoholic drinks. In the 1990s UK brands of same content such as Hooch, Reef, Smirnoff Ice and Bacardi Breezer became hugely popular.
But they were controversial, raising concerns that they encouraged young people to drink alcohol in large quantities because “they were so easy to consume”.