Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

These days, I think of Coca-Cola as a brand name, more than a product.

Once it was a ubiquitous presence not only on TV and on billboards, but in people's hands.

Tastes have changed. As has the awareness of sugar's less-than-sweet side.

To combat this, the company has gone out of its way to embrace any and every new beverage trend that comes along.

Oh, you mean you haven't yet tried Diet Coke Zesty Blood Orange or Diet Coke Twisted Mango? 

No, I didn't make those up

Now Coke is tossing all caution to the gales.

It's launching an alcoholic drink.

Yes, after 130 years of steering clear of the demon side of drink.

Coke recently slipped the news onto its website, as it discussed trends in Japan.

Jorge Garduño, president of Coca-Cola Japan, revealed that the product is called Chu-Hi.

"This is a canned drink that includes alcohol. Traditionally, it is made with a distilled beverage called shōchū and sparkling water, plus some flavoring," he said.

Ah, the ever-present flavoring.

What might be on Coke's mind? Why, the fact that its drinks get sold next to alcoholic drinks.

"Globally, it's not uncommon for non-alcoholic beverages to be sold in the same system as alcoholic beverages. It makes sense to give this a try in our market," said Garduño. 

Naturally he insisted that this was a Japan-only (real) thing, not something that's likely to drift to other parts.

To which I say, ring-pull the other one.

Here's a line from the company's Fourth Quarter results report: "Throughout 2017, the Company made progress in transforming the culture of the organization to be more nimble and entrepreneurial."

There was also an emphasis on an "expanding consumer-centric portfolio."

Do you think consumers all over the world might want to try something a little more punchy from Coke? 

Do you think moving into alcohol-infused drinks might be an entrepreneurial move that freshens Coke's image?

I have a feeling it just might.

Published on: Mar 7, 2018