Coca-Cola Will Launch First Alcoholic Beverage to Compete In Japan

Allison Schonter


Coca-Cola is testing the waters in the alcoholic beverage business.

The Coca-Cola Company has announced that it will be launching an alcoholic drink in the Japanese market — its first alcoholic drink in the company’s 125-year history. The company will begin selling alcopop, or Chu-Hi, a low-alcohol drink canned drink that typically includes sparkling water and flavoring.

“We’re also going to experiment with a product in a category known in Japan as Chu-Hi. This is a canned drink that includes alcohol; traditionally, it is made with a distilled beverage called shōchū and sparkling water, plus some flavoring. 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,” Jorge Garduño, president of Coca-Cola's Japan business unit, said on the company’s website.

For those hoping to get their hands on the alcoholic beverage, they’ll likely have to make a trip to Japan.

“I don’t think people around the world should expect to see this kind of thing from Coca-Cola. While many markets are becoming more like Japan, I think the culture here is still very unique and special, so many products that are born here will stay here,” Garduño said.

This isn’t the first time that the company has done a little experimenting. In September, the company announced that they had released a limited edition caffeinated beverage called Coca-Cola Coffee Plus No Sugar. Just as the alcoholic drink is expected to be, the coffee-flavored beverage was only available in the Japanese market. It was also launched in Australia for a limited time.

Coke-loving Americans had better luck in January when Coca-Cola announced the introduction of four new flavors in its diet lineup, including Ginger Lime, Feisty Cherry, Zesty Blood Orange, and Twisted Mango.

“Diet Coke is one of the most iconic brands loved by millions of fans in North America,” Rafael Acevedo, Coca-Cola North America’s group director for Diet Coke, said in a press release. “Throughout this relaunch journey, we wanted to be bold, think differently and be innovative in our approach. And most importantly, we wanted to stay true to the essence of Diet Coke while recasting the brand for a new generation.”

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