Coca-Cola Signature Mixers

Coca-Cola Signature Mixers: How it's made

08 August, 2019

In May this year The Coca-Cola Company launched a range of mixers for Europe – Coca-Cola Signature Mixers, created by five leading bartenders and specifically designed to be mixed with dark spirits. 

Coca-Cola is the world’s most valuable soft drinks brand, estimated at US$36.2bn according to brand valuation consultancy Brand Finance. So why has the company decided to embrace bartenders and why now?

With more than 500 brands around the world, Coca-Cola announced a new strategy – to be a “total beverage company”. Tim Brett, president of western Europe at The Coca-Cola Company, said: “We are a company that is changing quickly to make sure we are offering our customers and our consumers a total range of products, whatever you’re looking to drink, if it’s non-alcoholic we can supply that product.”

Geared with its new strategy, Coca-Cola enlisted the help of consultancy company The Future Laboratory to compile its own report, titled Coca-Cola: The Rise & The Rise of Dark Spirits Mixology. It quotes the Dark Spirits & Liqueurs UK Report which claims that the dark spirits and liqueurs market in 2018 in the UK alone was valued at just under £6bn, with record growth of 20.2% between 2013 and 2018.

With the findings from the report, Coca-Cola decided to ask a handful of drinks industry experts their thoughts. The feedback received was that when it came to mixing with premium dark spirits, nothing was better than Coca-Cola, but if they wanted to be relevant with the industry again it needed to be special, something to differentiate between them and the mainstream.

Despite having no name or identity at this point, a cola creation workshop was held. Sebastian Kroth, brand director for western Europe at The Coca-Cola Company, explains how it worked: “The setup was in Bar Three in London with a team of 20 people – 12 of those were leading mixologists. We had 200 fresh ingredients, with plenty of premium dark spirits all locked down for three days and nights, and the Coca-Cola syrup.”

The bartenders were given a “one-line brief” to create something that mixes better with any dark spirits than Coca-Cola.

“When we first started on the workshop it wasn’t clear that there was going to be a product at the end of it. We thought it was just a market research thing, they wanted to engage with bartenders,” says Max Venning who co-created the Smoky Signature Mixer. “I think with the project it had in mind it makes a lot of sense, if Coca-Cola did this internally by itself it wouldn’t have the credibility that it has.”

The partnership element seems to be the success here – the bartenders were given the creative rein to experiment with flavours, while Coca-Cola ended up with the successful launch of four Signature Mixers in the European market.

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