Coca-Cola is taking a stab at a new market: alcohol. On Monday, people lined up in droves to taste the new lemon-flavored alcoholic drink in Japan called “Lemon-Do.” The three available flavors are salty lemon, lemon, and honey lemon. For many, it was a pleasant surprise that the drink is reminiscent of an Asian drink called “chuhai,” which is made with “shochu.” Shochu is popular in South Korea and is known as its version of vodka, and the shochu is blended with juice and flavorings to make chuhai.
The new Coca-Cola alcoholic drinks will be available at varying levels of alcohol, including three, five, and seven percent alcohol. Also, there is no actual Coca-Cola in the drinks as reported by the Wall Street Journal. The company’s Chief Executive James Quincey explained their new foray into the market.
“We’ve started to experiment because, in the end, we are trying to follow the consumer. And, in the case of Japan, this is a relatively well-developed segment of low alcohol.”
Another reason that Cola-Cola is working on a new type of alcoholic drink is because the company wants more female consumers to buy their products. By offering a chuhai-like drink at specific alcoholic content levels, Coca-Cola is hoping to grow their dedicated fan base.
As far as whether the alcoholic Coca-Cola drinks will make their debut in the U.S. remains to be unseen. It’s not unusual for Coca-Cola to try out a new product in Japan. According to the Emit Post, a spokesperson for the company, Masaki Iida, notes “this is a pilot project in the region which has a sizeable market.”
However, Fortune reported that it’s unlikely for the Lemon-Do to expand even within other markets in Japan. It’s just one of 100 new products that they try each year in the country. However, the alcoholic drink is garnering much more attention than usual since it’s such a big change from their usual experimental drinks, reported Syracuse.
Coca-Cola Japan’s president Jorge Garduno said that “it makes sense to give this a try in our market … But I don’t think people around the world should expect to see this kind of thing from Coca-Cola.” It’s unknown why Garduno made such a claim before the market responded to the alcoholic drink. Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey did hint, however, that it’s best to “never say never.”
Perhaps if the Japanese test market proves the Lemon-Do could be a big hit, it’ll start showing up on shelves around the country, and perhaps one day will make its way to stores in the U.S.