Coke's Newest Offering Has Booze in It

But you'll have to go to Japan to sample Chu-Hi
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 7, 2018 1:13 PM CST
A delivery van is painted with Coke artwork in downtown Pittsburgh on Feb. 23, 2017.   (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

(Newser) – Coke: the pause that intoxicates. At least in Japan, where the Coca-Cola Co. will now offer a boozy carbonated beverage called Chu-Hi. The Telegraph reports this "alcopop" will be made up of fizzy water, flavoring, and a distilled Japanese alcohol called shochu, which Forbes has described as "the national spirit of Japan"—even more popular than sake. "We haven't experimented in the low-alcohol category before," Jorge Garduno, president of the company's Japan division, said in an interview on Coca-Cola's website last month, calling the drink a "modest experiment."

CNNMoney notes Coca-Cola will be joining the ranks of two other big companies in Japan pouring chu-hi-style drinks: Suntory and Kirin. Liquor lovers in the US shouldn't get too excited, though. Garduno says the "unique and special" circumstances of the Japanese market mean the company's alcoholic offerings likely won't make an appearance overseas anytime soon. "Many products that are born here will stay here," he notes. And there are lots of Coke products born there: CNN notes that 100 or so new Coke products get a test-drive in Japan each year.

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