The Coca-Cola beverage company is set to launch its own brand of alcopop drinks in Japan. It will be the first alcoholic drink produced by the company in its 125-year history.

Coca-Cola will make “Chu-Hi” drinks, which are canned beverages that contain alcohol. The alcohol content of Chu-Hi alcopops ranges from 3 percent to 8 percent, and their popularity has grown between 5 and 25 percent year on year since 2013.

“This is a canned drink that includes alcohol; traditionally, it is made with a distilled beverage called shochu and sparkling water, plus some flavoring,” said Jorge Garduno, Coca-Cola’s Japan president. “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.”

Fizzy-drinks sales have been in decline for Coca-Cola and its competitors, as younger generations are more conscious of sugar consumption. The company has experimented with water and tea to compensate for the declining sales.

“The Chu-Hi category is found almost exclusively in Japan. Globally, it’s not uncommon for non-alcoholic beverages to be sold in the same system as alcoholic beverages. It makes sense to give this a try in our market,” Garduno said.

Alcoholic Coca-Cola drinks will most likely be sold only in Japan, because of the “unique and special” qualities of the Japanese market, he added.

RT