Coke gives Japanese customers a way to get buzzed with new drink
June 23, 2018 | 78° | Check Traffic

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Coke gives Japanese customers a way to get buzzed with new drink

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Raymond Shelton, senior executive officer at the Coca-Cola East Japan, stands before a vending machine in Tokyo with his company’s beverages sold in Japan, none of which is Coke, but rather various teas, coffee, water and juices, at Coca-Cola East Japan headquarters in 2016. 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.

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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.

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