The Coca-Cola company is planning to produce an alcoholic drink for the first time in it’s 125-year history – with an alcopop-style product in Japan, which has seen a growing taste for Chu-Hi – canned sparkling flavoured drinks given a kick with a local spirit called shochu. which has between 3% and 8% alcohol by volume.
“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,” said Jorge Garduno, Coca-Cola’s Japan president.
It was unlikely the drink would be sold outside of Japan, he suggested.
Chu-Hi – an abbreviation for shochu highball – has been marketed as an alternative to beer, proving especially popular with female drinkers. Japan’s big drinks firms including Kirin, Suntory and Asahi all have varieties of the drink, and continue to experiment with hundreds of flavours.
With younger consumers becoming health conscious, Coca-Cola has been diversifying from fizzy drinks, including buying water and tea brands.
The phrase alcopop typically refers to sweet but alcoholic drinks, and in 1990s UK brands such as Hooch, Reef, Smirnoff Ice and Bacardi Breezer became hugely popular.
But they were controversial. raising concerns that they encouraged young people to drink alcohol in large quantities because they were so easy to consume.