After 125 teetotal years, Coca-Cola has decided totake the plunge and dabble with alcohol.
The world’s biggest soft drinks company has chosenJapan to test its tolerance to the hard stuff byjoining the growing Japanese market for “Chu-Hi” alcopops.
The gambit, which one senior Coke executivedescribed as “unique in our history”, will propel the US company into a competitive arenadominated by Japanese brands such as Strong Zero, Highball Lemon and Slat.
此举被可口可乐一位高管形容为“我公司历史上独一无二”，它将使这家美国公司进入一个竞争激烈的市场，该市场目前由Strong Zero、Highball Lemon和Slat等日本品牌主导。
Jorge Garduno, president of Coke’s Japanese division, said the plan to enter the market “makessense” and was an example of how the company was exploring opportunities outside its coreareas. “Coca-Cola has always focused entirely on non-alcoholic beverages, and this is [a] modest experiment for a specific slice of our market,” he said, adding that he did not thinkpeople around the world should expect to see similar innovations.
There are hundreds of flavours of Chu-Hi, a canned alcoholic drink made from a distilledbeverage called shochu and sparkling water. The Japanese market for the vodka-like spirit — distilled from potatoes, rice, barley or sugar — has expanded almost 40 per cent since 2011.
Chu-Hi canned drinks mostly range in alcohol content between 3 and 8 per cent — a profilethat has put them in competition with beer. The appeal of Chu-Hi has been enhanced by therelentless trial-and-error approach by major Japanese producers Kirin, Asahi, Takara andSuntory, which have released flavours that include yoghurt, acerola and wild basil.
The move into alcohol comes as Coca-Cola, like other big food groups, has faced shrinkingsales in its core business: fizzy drinks. As a younger generation of consumers shun sugar, Coke has invested in products in faster-growing segments, such as water and tea.
James Quincey, Coke’s chief executive, said last month that the company had launched morethan 500 new products in 2017. “We’re making innovations in Coke, innovations with flavours, innovations with ingredients all around the world?.?.?.?taking it into different categories than itwas in before,” he said.