In Brief

Coca-Cola to launch first alcoholic drink

The company is set to unveil its new alcopop-style beverage in Japan

The Coca-Cola company is preparing to introduce its first alcoholic drink in its 125-year history with an alcopop-style beverage in Japan.

The US company is “keen to cash in on” Japan’s growing interest in Chu Hi — canned bubbly flavoured drinks with a local distilled alcohol called shochu, says the BBC. Chu Hi typically has an alcohol content between 3% and 8% putting it in competition with traditional beers.

The Japanese market for shochu has grown by nearly 40% since 2011, according to the Financial Times.

Coca-Cola’s Japan president Jorge Garduño said in an interview on the company’s website: “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.”

The company has been “battling falling sales” among its more traditional products as “health-conscious consumers shun fizzy drinks” in favour of other beverages like coconut water or flavoured sparkling waters, Business Insider reports.

A senior Coca-Cola executive in Japan called this decision a "modest experiment for a specific slice of our market". But the experiment of alcoholic Coca-Cola beverages is “likely to stay within Japan” instead of expanding, says The Telegraph.

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