Over the years Coca-Cola has branched out into all kinds of variations on its treasured fizzy drink, with everything from low-sugar versions like Diet Coke, Coke Zero or Coka-Cola Life through to the more recent range of flavoured Diet Cokes, which includes ginger and lime, mango, blood orange and cherry.
Now, though, the soft drink titans have declared they’ll be venturing into the territory that we’ve all been waiting for: booze.
In an interview on the Coca-Cola website last month, Jorge Garduño – the president of Coca-Cola’s Japanese business unit – explained that the company is planning to ‘experiment’ with alcoholic drinks.
“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,” Garduño said.
While the company has been known to frequently release new products, this one will mark the first time it’s broken out of Coke’s popular soft drink bracket.
“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 added.
The brand-new product will be an alcoholic ‘Chu-Hi’ drink – which is a canned drink containing alcohol.
“Traditionally, it is made with a distilled beverage called shōchū and sparkling water, plus some flavoring,” Garduño explained.
The alcoholic content is usually quite low, with the ABV soaring between three and eight percent, but according to the Financial Times, the demand for Chu-Hi drinks appears to be very high – with the market growth fluctuating everywhere between five and 25 percent.
It will be launched in Japan, where the Chu-Hi market is rapidly growing and already boasts hundreds of different flavours, including the likes of peach and, er, salty grapefruit.
Garduño has said that the product is a ‘modest experiment for a specific slice of our market’, and that it won’t be appearing elsewhere anytime soon – adding that Japanese culture is very unique, and because of that, ‘so many products that are born here will stay here’.
He added: “The Chu-Hi category is found almost exclusively in Japan. But I don’t think people around the world should expect to see this kind of thing from Coca-Cola.”
Fingers crossed that if it does well there, they might consider rolling it out to other countries – or at least offer others something equally boozy.
In the meantime, we’ll just have to make do with the latest new Coca-Cola flavours, Georgia Peach and California Raspberry Coke – the first newbies to the Coke range since 2002’s Vanilla Coke – or the recent Diet Coke additions. Better than nothing, eh?