Coca-Cola to Introduce Hard FRESCA

The canned cocktail enters a crowded market.

January 07, 2022

Coca Cola Company Building

VICTOR, N.Y.—Coca-Cola and Constellation Brands have partnered to create a spirit-based, ready-to-drink, canned cocktail under Coke’s FRESCA brand, according to a news release.

FRESCA Mixed is expected to launch this year and will start with cocktails inspired by recipes from people around the world who use FRESCA as a mixer. It will be produced and marketed by Constellation and distributed through Constellation’s three-tier distribution networks.

“The Coca-Cola Company’s FRESCA brand is not only trusted by consumers, but also directly delivers on consumer preferences for refreshment, flavor and convenience—attributes that also play well within beverage alcohol and where we can leverage our expertise,” said Bill Newlands, Constellation’s president and chief executive officer.

FRESCA is currently the fastest growing soft drink brand in The Coca-Cola Company’s U.S. portfolio.

The ready-to-drink cocktail space is becoming increasingly crowded, and soda companies are rushing to  partner with alcoholic beverage makers, reports Wall Street Journal. Coca-Cola introduced Topo Chico hard seltzer last year in partnership with Molson Coors and recently released a new flavor—Ranch Water. PepsiCo will release a hard Mountain Dew this year, partnering with Boston Beer Co., and Anheuser Busch released a line of hard sodas.

Ready-to-drink spirits represented $741 million in U.S. retail-store sales in 2021 through Dec. 25, more than double the sales over the same period a year earlier, according to an analysis of Nielsen data by Bump Williams Consulting.

“The pandemic has certainly accelerated the RTD category,” said Don Duebler, CEO of Atomic Brands, marketer of the Monaco brand, in a recent NACS Magazine article on the subject. “Consumers have engaged in the ease that these products offer, and that fits their new reality. The projection is that the category will continue to grow.”

The single-serve cocktails are ideal for c-stores, Duebler continued. “For this channel, the shopping mission of the consumer is something for the moment or on the go,” he explained. Still, multi-packs are beginning to advance. “Today, we now have over 50% of c-stores selling four-packs,” he reported.

For more on ready-to-drink cocktails, read the NACS Magazine article “Bottoms Up.”