Coca-Cola Launches Lemon-Do, Its First Alcoholic Beverage


Coca-Cola Japan Lemon-Do alcoholic beverage line

Coca-Cola on Monday launched its first-ever alcoholic drink: Lemon-Do, which is now available in Japan with 3%, 5% and 7% alcohol versions.

The fizzy lemon-flavored beverage is a growth strategy in response to Japan’s market for “Chu-Hi” alcopops, an abbreviated form of Shochu Highball, or shochu alcohol mixed with flavored carbonated water. Rivals Suntory, Asahi and Kirin already offer canned Chu-Hi drinks.

It’s being marketed as a beer alternative to Japan’s female millennials, as the launch ad campaign shows:

While the Coca-Cola Company owned a winery from 1977 to 1983, it has never directly sold an alcoholic beverage in its 132-year history. “It’s an example of how we continue to explore opportunities outside our core areas,” said Coca-Cola’s Japan President Jorge Gardunu.

Coca-Cola Japan Lemon-Do launch

Coca-Cola has no plans to offer the beverage beyond Japan. “This is a pilot project in the region, which has a sizable market,” Masaki Iida, spokesman for Coca-Cola’s Japanese unit, told AFP.

Alcopop drinks such as Smirnoff Ice and Bacardi Breezer rose to prominence in Europe and the UK in the 1990s. Coca-Cola’s Japan product team got the idea after visiting Japanese-style “izakaya” pubs, informal Japanese places for after-work drinking where lemon-flavored alcohol mixers are popular with the clientele of millennials, particularly young women.