Coca-Cola launches alcohol brand to survive

14 March, 2018

Coca-Cola’s plans to release an alcoholic beverage in Japan in 2018 is a survival strategy according to big data experts.

Last month president of Coca-Cola’s Japanese unit Jorge Garduño announced there are plans in place for the company to release its own version of Chu-Hi, a canned drink with a low abv.

Toby Magill, head of beer wines and spirits at big data company, IRI, said: “Coca–Cola’s launch into alcoholic drinks in Japan shows that the challenging Fast Moving Consumer Goods landscape is causing even major manufacturers to challenge old assumptions in order to adapt and thrive.

"The consequence of this for all players in beers wines and spirits is an increasing need to revaluate who their competitive set really is and where the next challenge may come from on the aisle and beyond in order to deliver growth today – and in the future.”

In February this year, Garduño was interviewed on the Coca-Cola website to discuss the launch of its Chu-Hi release.

“This is a canned drink that includes alcohol; traditionally, it is made with a distilled beverage called shōchū and sparkling water, plus some flavouring,” said Garduño.

“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.”

Coca-Cola does have a history in wine during the 1970s when it launched its Wine Spectrum, which was later sold for $200m in 1983.

However, this will be the first time the company has produced an alcoholic beverage under its own name in its 125-year history. The Chu-Hi is unlikely to be sold outside of Japan.

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