Coca-Cola to launch alcoholic drink

Coca-Cola plans to launch a canned, alcopop-style drink in the Japanese market, marking the first time in the company’s 130-year history that it has entered the low alcohol category.

The soft drinks giant is currently experimenting with a popular Japanese alcopop-style drink known as Chu-Hi, which contains distilled shōchū (typically less than 45% ABV), sparkling water and additional flavourings. The finished product tends to have between 3% and 8% ABV.

Coca-Cola confirmed the plan in an interview published on its website with Jorge Garduño, Coca-Cola’s Japan president. In the interview Garduño 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”.

Garduño did not specify when the product would be launched, but did add: “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”.

Last November, an analyst from financial services company Wells Fargo speculated that drinks giant Coca-Cola could announce plans to move into the alcoholic beverages market at its investor day that month.

Responding to the speculation that week, Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey said he would not rule it out, but that it didn’t make sense to do it at that time.

Speaking to CNBC’s ‘Squawk on the Street’ last year, he said: “Philosophically, I never say never about most things, but the way I look at it, there’s just so much more we already have strength and capability in, it just doesn’t make sense to do that next.

“It makes more sense to do things that are more synergistic with your consumers and your capabilities as a company and a system”.

Garduño inferred that Coca-Cola’s new alcoholic drink was likely to stay within Japan rather than be rolled out globally, due to what he called the “unique and special” qualities of the Japanese market.

The first ready-to-drink Chu-Hi was reportedly released in Japan in 1983 and, since then, the country’s major drinks firms including Kirin, Suntory and Asahi all produce their own versions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please note that comments are subject to our posting guidelines in accordance with the Defamation Act 2013. Posts containing swear words, discrimination, offensive language and libellous or defamatory comments will not be approved.

Subscribe to our newsletters

Various Sales Roles (London, Brighton, Bristol, South Wales and East Midlands)

Amathus Drinks Plc
London, Brighton, Bristol, South Wales and East Midlands, UK

Sales Opportunities

Alliance Wine

International Logistic Manager

Wine Source Group
Central London, UK


The Observatory, Old Oak Common Lane NW10 6DX, UK

Sales Manager & Brand Ambassador for Central England

Salcombe Gin
Central England, home office with extensive travel , UK

Director of On-Trade & Prestige

Signium Executive Search
South East England ideally, UK

Brand Marketing Assistant

Hatch Mansfield
Ascot, UK

Regional Account Manager

Scotland, UK

Retail Assistant Manager

The Whisky Exchange

Retail Supervisor

The Whisky Exchange

The City Wine Show

London,United Kingdom
13th Apr 2018

Prosecco Springs

London,United Kingdom
26th Apr 2018

Spirits & More

19th May 2018
Click to view more

The Global Malbec Masters 2017

the drinks business is proud to announce the inaugural Global Malbec Masters 2017

The Global Sparkling Masters 2017

the drinks business is thrilled to announce the launch of The Global Sparkling Masters.

Click to view more