Coca-Cola has officially launched its first-ever alcoholic product into the beverage market on Monday.
The launching took place in Japan and as explained by the company’s Japanese President-Jorge Garduno, the new product is a fizzy, lemon-flavored concoction which is laced with spirits that seek to capitalize on the growing popularity of “chuhai” alcopops enjoyed especially by young women.
Speaking at the official launching of the alcoholic drink, Coca-Cola President also explained that even though the brand is well known for its soft drink productions in its 125 years history, he admitted that the experiment of the new product in the Japan wine market has been a revelation.
From Monday, three new “Lemon-Do” drinks containing three, five and seven percent alcohol will be available in the Southern Kyushu region of Japan.
A 350-milliliter can will set you back 150 yen ($1.40).
“This is a pilot project in the region which has a sizable market,” Masaki Iida, spokesman for Coca-Cola’s Japanese unit.
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-flavored drinks are very popular, according to the firm’s website.
The popular “chuhai” drinks which contain Vodka or a distilled, grain-based spirit called “shochu” come in a range of flavors such as grape, 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.
And the firm’s president has already dampened hopes of people hoping to get a tipple outside Japan, saying there are no plans to launch “Lemon-Do” outside of the country.
However, the push is seen as part of a broader campaign to diversify beyond sodas as health concerns see consumers in the US and other developed markets weaning themselves off sweet drinks and diet Cola’s.