Coca-Cola will release a hard seltzer in the first half of 2021 under its Topo Chico brand, according to the soda company’s Chief Executive Officer of Coca-Cola Co James Quincey. Coca-Cola has not released an alcoholic beverage in the United States since the 1980s, when it sold off its wine business.
“I think these innovations that we’ve seen, including hard seltzer, are a trend of the consumer looking for new things, and if we want to be consumer-centric … then that’s what’s taking us to this opportunity,” Quincey told Jim Cramer on Mad Money.
The hard seltzer will be released under Coca Cola’s Topo Chico brand, which the company acquired in 2017 for $220 million. The U.S. launch of Topo Chico Hard Seltzer will follow its launch in Mexico, where the brand was founded making sparkling water, and Brazil, where it will hit shelves later this month. The company released an alcoholic drink called Lemon-Do in Japan in 2018.
The canned cocktail, hard seltzer, RTD market is currently booming. Last month, Bacardi entered the ring with four mixed drinks. Absolut Vodka joined the party with six RTD options. Kahlua introduced a Nitro Cold Brew that features Rum, while Tia Maria unveiled their own Iced Coffee Frappe. Opihr released two Gin & Tonic canned cocktail options. Jose Cuervo have entered the market via its Playamar range and Ketel One also joined in via its Botanical Vodka Spritz.
Constellation Brands Inc, which produces Corona beer, also ventured in the fast-growing Hard Seltzer market this year. At the time, Corona Hard Seltzer gained a 6% IRI market share in the U.S. and was ranked as the fourth major player.
It isn’t only the big names delivering new, aluminum-wrapped delights, Volley entered the game four Tequila-based RTDs and Onda launched their own sparkling Tequila canned cocktail. Those looking for something a bit harder, meanwhile, might want to give Siponey Royale a try.
Still, the entrance of such a large brand as Coca-Cola is particularly newsworthy, and we’ll have to wait and see just what Topo Chico Hard Seltzer looks like.