The world’s largest soft drinks company says that it is going to experiment with a local canned beverage called Chu-Hi, made of sparkling water, flavouring and shochu, a Japanese spirit distilled from grains.
Sales of the drink, which has an alcohol content of around 3.8%, have grown in the past several years and have proved particularly popular with female drinkers.
Through the move, Coca-Cola aims to tap into the popular “Chu-hi” drink market and will be up against big Japanese beverage makers such as Kirin and Suntory which already produces the canned drink.
In a recent blog post, Jorge Garduño, the president of Coca-Cola Japan, described how the new beverage marked a “unique” chapter in the company’s history, noting “we haven't experimented in the low alcohol category before”.
“Coca-Cola has always focused entirely on non-alcoholic beverages, and this is a modest experiment for a specific slice of our market,” he added.
However, he noted that other markets shouldn’t expect to see the product anytime soon.
“I don’t think people around the world should expect to see this kind of thing from Coca-Cola,” he said.
“While many markets are becoming more like Japan, I think the culture here is still very unique and special, so many products that are born here will stay here
The beverage giant is already launching three new drinks in the UK this year including an ice tea drink called Fuzetea, ready-to-drink coffee called Honest Coffee and dairy-free smoothies from the AdeZ brand.