Coca-Cola launches first-ever alcoholic drink in Japan

Coca-Cola is one of the most iconic brands in the world — known and loved for its refreshing cola beverage — yet it’s never strayed far from its original drinks, until now.

The brand has brought out its first-ever alcoholic drink, based on a Japanese alcopop called Chu-Hi.

The drink giant’s three fizzy and boozy lemon drinks went on sale on May 28 and the exact recipes are a closely guarded secret.

The drink has been launched in Japan, where the market is thriving, and the move was confirmed by Coca-Cola’s Japanese president, Jorge Garduño.

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He said: “This is a canned drink that includes alcohol; traditionally, it’s made with a distilled beverage called shochu and sparkling water, plus some flavoring.

“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 went on: “Coca-Cola has always focused entirely on non-alcoholic beverages and this is a modest experiment for a specific slice of our market.”

Chu-Hi – an abbreviation for shochu highball – is a canned, alcoholic drink marketed as an alternative to beer in Japan and is a massive success with female drinkers.

Traditional Chu-Hi is made with shōchū and carbonated water, flavored with lemon, though some new brands are using vodka instead of shōchū.

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Japanese drink giants like Suntory, Asahi and Kirin currently dominate the sector for canned Chu-Hi drinks. The most popular flavors are citrus-based.

Canned Chu-Hi can have alcohol levels as high as 9 percent and is often sold in vending machines.

However, alcohol percentages are often lower when the drink is sold in bars.

This article originally appeared in The Sun.