Japan: Coca-Cola set to launch company's first alcoholic beverage

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08 Mar 2018 --- Coca-Cola is breaking a 130 year plus tradition by launching the companies' first alcoholic beverage in the world in Japan. The soft drinks maker has said that the alcopop type beverage will be similar to “Chu-Hi,” a canned sparkling flavored drink that includes a local spirit called shochu.

Coca-Cola hopes to capitalize on the increase in popularity in Japan of Chu-Hi alcopops. Sales of the drink, which ranges in alcohol content from 3-8 percent, have surged over the past five years and it is particularly popular with female drinkers in Asia.

Jorge Garduño, Coca-Cola’s Japan president, said: “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 also noted that the company would probably sell its alcoholic drinks only in Japan, because of the “unique and special qualities” of the domestic market.

Sales of soft drinks are in decline worldwide as young people become more health conscious, cutting down on sugar consumption and governments are cracking down with sugar taxes in a bid to combat obesity.

Despite the UK’s sugar tax coming into effect next month, Coca-Cola has no plans to change its sugar-laden recipe for its flagship drink. The company said: “People love the taste…and have told us not to change.” The group will use smaller bottles and sell at higher prices to offset the impact of the soft drinks tax.

Coca-Cola has also branched out into water, coffee and tea to plug the sales shortfall. Just this week, FoodIngredientsFirst reported that Coca-Cola had enjoyed a 25 percent growth for Sprite in the Netherlands. You can read the full story here.

The company is also launching three new drinks in the UK this year – the ice tea drink Fuzetea, ready-to-drink cold coffee Honest Coffee, and the dairy-free smoothies brand AdeZ.

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