SOFT-DRINKS GIANT, Coca-Cola, after 125 years history, plans to launch its first alcoholic drink in Japan, along an alcopop- style product in Japan. Coca-Cola is cashing in on Japanese growing taste for Chu-Hi, canned sparkling flavoured drinks that is blended with local spirit called shochu. The product has between three and eight per cent alcohol content.
A senior Coca-Cola executive in Japan, according to BBC, said the move was a “modest experiment for a specific slice of our market”. Japan’s Coca-Cola President Jorge Garduno said: “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”.
It is likely that the drink may be for Japan market. Chu-Hi, an abbreviation for shochu highball has been marketed as an alternative to beer, and has, especially, been popular with female drinkers in Japan. Japan’s big drinks firms including Kirin, Suntory and Asahi all have varieties of the drink, and have continue to experiment with flavours.
Most popular flavours are strong citrus, such as grape fruit or lemon. The drink can also be made with other fruit flavours such as grape, apple and peach. The phrase alcopop refers to sweet but alcoholic drinks. In 1990s UK brands such as Hooch, Reef, Smirnoff Ice and Bacardi Breezer became popular.
There has been rising concern that these drinks encouraged young people to drink alcohol in large quantities because they were so easy to consume. As younger consumers become more health conscious, Coca-Cola has been diversifying from fizzy drinks, including buying water and tea brands.