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Coca-Cola Launches Its First Alcoholic Drink

Described by Coca-Cola as “unique” in the company’s 125-year history, the three drinks range from 3% to 8% alcohol.

In keeping with the company’s tradition, the recipe is closely guarded but the drinks are modelled on the country’s popular Chu-Hi drinks, usually a mix of local spirit and a range of fruit flavours.

A 350-millilitre can sells for 150 yen ($1.40).

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“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.

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The popular “chuhai” drinks — which contain vodka or a distilled, grain-based spirit called “shochu” — come in a range of flavours such as gR@pe, strawberry, kiwi and white peach.

They range in strength from between three and nine percent 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.

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