Coca-Cola Co. is set to launch an alcoholic drink in Japan, a first for the company.
The plan was revealed by Jorge Garduño, president of Coca-Cola’s Japan unit, in an article posted on the company’s website, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The canned drink is known as “chu-hai” in Japan. It is usually made with flavored, carbonated water and shochu, a grain-based spirit.
Flavors range from strawberry to ice tea and cream soda, the newspaper said.
Coca-Cola’s Japan unit has long been selling drinks not available in other countries, including tea and coffee products as well as Coca-Cola Plus, a laxative marketed as a health drink.
“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,” Garduño said.
Coca-Cola has been diversifying its products amid declining soda sales and changing consumer tastes.
In launching an alcoholic product in Japan, the company is entering a crowded market dominated by local brands from companies such as Suntory Holdings Ltd. and Kirin Holdings Co., the Journal said.
Companies introduce as many as 100 drinks into the market each year, the report said. They are sold everywhere – in convenience stores, vending machines and eateries.
Chu-hai has low alcohol content of 3 to 4 percent, although it could go as high as 8 percent or more in other drinks.
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