Coca-Cola keeps a lid on the recipe for its first alcoholic drink
Business Day - May 28th, 09:39
Coca-Cola launched its first ever alcoholic drink in Japan — a fizzy, lemon-flavoured concoction laced with spirits that seek to capitalise on the growing popularity of "chuhai" alcopops enjoyed especially by young women.
Although the US group dabbled in the wine business in the 1970s, the experiment in Japan was "unique" in the company’s 125-year history, said Coca-Cola Japan president Jorge Garduno.
Three new Lemon-Do drinks — containing 3%, 5% and 7% alcohol — will be available in the southern Kyushu region of Japan.
A 350ml can will set you back ¥150 ($1.40).
"This is a pilot project in the region, which has a sizable market," Masaki Iida, spokesman for Coca-Cola’s Japanese unit, told AFP.
He declined to reveal the exact spirit in the drink, as the recipe is a closely guarded secret.
Coca-Cola product developers got the idea after visiting Japanese-style "izakaya" pubs, where they discovered that lemon-flavoured drinks are very popular, according to the firm’s website.
The popular "chuhai" drinks — which contain vodka or a distilled, grain-based spirit called shochu — come in a range of flavours such as grape, strawberry, kiwi and white peach.
They range in strength between 3% and 9% and are particularly popular with young drinkers, especially women.
Coca-Cola is wading into an already competitive market, where major Japanese companies such as Suntory, Kirin and Asahi dominate the shelves.
Its president has already damped hopes of people hoping to get a tipple outside Japan, saying there are no plans to launch Lemon-Do elsewhere.
However, the push is seen as part of a broader campaign to diversify beyond sodas, as health concerns lead consumers in the US and other developed markets to wean themselves off sweet drinks and diet colas.BusinessDay
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