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Coca-Cola to launch its first alcoholic drink

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Coca-Cola plans to make an alcoholic drink for the first time in the company’s 125-year history, jumping into Japan’s growing “alcopop” market, reported MarketWatch.

Coke KO, +0.09% , facing changing soda drinking habits in many markets, looks to cash in on the growing demand for Chu-Hi — canned sparkling flavored drinks with a local spirit called shochu, the BBC and other U.K. press has reported, citing Jorge Garduno, Coca-Cola’s Japan president.

The product is typically between 3% and 8% alcohol by volume.

“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,” Garduno said, according to the BBC in Wednesday report. Garduno, who hinted at the product launch in Japan in a video uploaded to Coke’s website last month, implied it is unlikely the drink would be sold outside of Japan.

To meet the changing tastes of younger drinkers, the company has been diversifying from fizzy drinks, including buying water and tea brands. Coke last month beat Wall Street expectations with its fourth-quarter earnings and sales results but said it will have a 26% headwind in the first quarter from acquisitions, divestitures and structural items.

Wells Fargo analyst Bonnie Herzog had speculated that Coca-Cola might move into alcohol, as it looked to “premium segments such as adult craft beverages.”

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Reporter: Denes Osvalt
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Category: Business
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