As we discussed before, Coca-Cola is a great marketing company. See How Coca-Cola Creates Stories and A Clever Ad: Coke and Recycling. Now, due to interest in healthier beverages, Coca-Cola keeps expanding its other product categories, such as juices and bottled water. As a result, Coca-Cola will enter Japanese low-alcohol market .

Is this a good idea? On the one hand, the company will market a new product in a country where local-alcohol beverages remain popular. On the other hand, there are ethical implications. Why? These sweeter beverages (“alcopops”) sometimes are consumed by those under age 21 (or 18). Thus, will Coca-Cola’s image take a hit? The company has no plan to offer thisĀ  beverage outside out of Japan, where there is cultural acceptance of such beverages.


A Good Idea? Coca-Cola Will Enter Japanese Low-Alcohol Market

Consider this from Business Insider: Coca-Cola has been battling falling sales globally as consumers shun fizzy drinks. Coca-Cola Japan is launching a version of a local low alcohol drink Chu-Hi. The regional head says the new drink is ‘a modest experiment’ and likely won’t travel.”

And according to Bloomberg News:

“Coca-Cola Co., which has sold its famous soft drink for more than 130 years, wants customers in Japan to try something harder. The company is launching a canned version of Chu-Hi, an alcoholic drink. It is made with shochu, a distilled beverage. And it is typically made from rice, barley, sweet potatoes, and other ingredients. The move is a first for Coke. The firm has stuck to cola and other non-alcoholic drinks except for its brief ownership of a wine subsidiary that ended in 1983.”

“Chu-Hi is considered a low-alcohol beverage. But proofs can range as high as 18 (9 percent alcohol by volume). The company wants to appeal to consumers at different times of the day. People drink an average of eight, 8-ounce drinks a day. And Coca-Cola seeks to be the source of more of those servings.”

One distribution channel in Japan may be the vending machine. Where Coca-Cola beverages remain popular.


Coca-Cola Will Enter Japanese Low-Alcohol Market
Tokyo residents purchase soft drinks from a Coca-Cola vending machine in Tokyo Credit: Tatsuyuki Tayama/Bloomberg News


Finally, as News 24/7 notes:

“The world’s largest soft drinks company is currently experimenting with an alcopop-style beverage which will have a low alcoholic content of three to eight per cent ABV. Alcopops, ready-made sweetened alcoholic drinks, often resemble soft drinks because of their bubbly and fruit-flavored nature. But the low-alcohol drink will only be available in Japan. Chu-Hi, an abbreviation for sochu highball, has been marketed as an alternative to beer.”

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