Coca-Cola, 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 made with shochu, a distilled beverage typically made from rice, barley, sweet potatoes and other ingredients. The move is a first for Coke, which 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).
Coke announced earlier this year that it is catering to alcoholic-beverage consumers by spiffing up its mixers.
The Japanese market has long been a place where Coca-Cola has been the most innovative. That unit launches an average of 100 new products a year, according to Coke.
The Chu-Hi drink will be available only in Japan — for now.