How do you say “cheers” in Japanese? Coca-Cola wants to know.
The company is launching a new alcoholic drink in Japan. Chu-Hi, a popular beverage there, is made from a distilled beverage called shōchū, sparkling water and flavoring.
“This is unique in our history,” Jorge Garduño, president of Coca-Cola’s Japan business unit, said in a post on the company’s website. “Coca-Cola has always focused entirely on non-alcoholic beverages and this is a modest experiment for a specific slice of our market.”
Scott Leith, a spokesman for the company, said that the new boozy drink will not be coming to the U.S.
He declined to say when it would hit store shelves in Japan or what the new beverage would cost.
The Atlanta-based beverage maker often rolls out edgy drinks in Japan. Last spring, for example, it debuted Coca-Cola Plus, which contains fiber.
USA TODAY did a taste test of Ginger Lime, Feisty Cherry, Zesty Blood Orange and Twisted Mango, which will hit store shelves on Jan. 22. USA Today
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“The Japan business unit launches an average of 100 new products a year, and many times more are put to the test behind the scenes,” said Garduño. “Experimentation is almost like a day-to-day ritual here.”
This isn’t Coca-Cola’s first foray into alcohol. Before company founder John Pemberton created what ultimately became the Coca Cola consumed today, he developed a coca wine, which was made with French wine and cocaine. Temperance laws at the time ultimately got him to swap out the alcohol part of his concoction.
In 1977, Coca-Cola got back into the wine business, but ultimately sold that division, called Wine Spectrum, to Seagram & Sons in 1983, according to Leith.
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