31 Oct 2023 Coca-Cola moves further into the alcohol space
Coca-Cola Co is partnering with Absolut vodka to introduce an RTD Sprite cocktail, with a rollout in several markets in 2024….
Coca-Cola has brought several of its most popular brands into the alcohol space during the last two years through partnerships with booze companies such as Molson Coors and Brown-Forman.
Now, with Pernod Ricard it will debut Absolut Vodka & Sprite as a ready-to-drink, pre-mixed cocktail in early 2024, the companies have said. It will be available in Sprite and Sprite Zero Sugar versions, with the initial launch planned for select European countries, including the UK, the Netherlands, Spain and Germany.
Coca-Cola first launched Topo Chico Hard Seltzer in the US. in 2021 through a partnership with Molson Coors. Since then, it has wasted little time tapping into its brand equity to make further inroads in the alcohol space.
It has partnered with Constellation Brands on a Fresca Mixed cocktail, and has worked with Molson Coors on RTD spiked lemonades with Simply, hard tea with Peace and hard seltzer with sparkling mineral water brand Topo Chico.
Coca-Cola also also joined with Brown-Forman on an RTD cocktail combining Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey and the iconic soda brand. Jack and Coke have long been synonymous, with consumers and bartenders combining the liquids together for years, so it only made sense for the companies to capitalise on an RTD product.
The latest iteration follows a similar track to Jack and Coke. Vodka is one of the most popular bases for alcoholic RTD products, and lemon-lime soft drinks are one of the commonly used mixers in pre-mixed cocktails, according to the companies. It makes sense for the beverage manufacturers to combine two already popular uses into a convenient offering for consumers to drink.
“Sprite is a wonderful pairing for Absolut, and I’m convinced that our joining forces will bring the whole alcohol RTD category to the next level,” Alexandre Ricard, CEO of Pernod Ricard, said.
It’s no wonder that companies such as Coca-Cola and Pernod Ricard are moving deeper into RTD products. The category is forecast to grow by $11.6-billion between 2022 and 2026, according to data from IWSR. During the same period, volumes are expected to increase by 24%.
Coca-Cola has been upfront about its interest in being a bigger player in alcohol. Given the category’s complex distribution system and changing consumer tastes, it makes sense for the beverage giant to partner with another business that has deeper insight into the sector.
In addition, a key part of Coca-Cola’s strategy is to take a well-known brand and combine it with another iconic one. This allows the new product to stand out on a crowded ready-to-drink shelf and gives it instant credibility.