For the first time in the company’s 125-year history, Coca-Cola reported launching its first alcoholic drink.
On Monday, the three lemon drinks with volume alcohol content ranging from 3% to 8% hit the shelves in Japan under the name Lemon-Do. The product aims at a growing market of young drinkers – especially women, the company said.
The recipe of the fruit-flavoured drink is traditionally guarded but the drinks are said modelled on Chu-Hai drinks, hugely popular in Japan. The spirit is of local origin, though
Chu-Hai that have been marketed as an alternative to beer rather than alcopops, proved especially popular with young female drinkers. They are relatively cheap, often in the 100 to 200 yen ($1-2).
The most popular flavours are strong citrus ones such as grapefruit or lemon, the latter one being the taste Coca Cola now wants a share of.
Alcopops sales raged in 1990s – early 2000, but, according to official figures, dropped by almost 80 % in the previous decade. It does not look like Japan is in a hurry to dump them into the history bin.
In February, president of Coca-Cola Japan, Jorge Garduño, issued a statement saying:
“The Japanese market is incredibly dynamic, fiercely competitive and rooted in innovation. Because of this, our team is constantly looking at ways to experiment – both from a product standpoint and finding new ways to do business with our customers.
Consumers here look for variety and want to experiment. We also have categories that are much bigger here than in most of the world – like tea, for example. We’re trying to push the boundaries to serve consumers in new ways.
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.”