Pernod Ricard has become the latest distiller to work with The Coca-Cola Co. as the soft-drinks giant continues its expansion into beverage alcohol.
The French wine and spirits group has teamed up with The Coca-Cola Co. to develop Absolut & Sprite, a vodka-based ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktail. The product is set to be launched next year.
Two SKUs will initially be launched – one using standard Sprite and the other Sprite Zero. Its first markets will be “select European countries”, including the UK, Germany and Spain. The dates of a global launch have not been disclosed.
“We are expanding in the alcohol ready-to-drink space, including products that use select brands from our core portfolio,” The Coca-Cola Co. CEO James Quincey said. “We keep consumers at the centre of everything we do as we continue to develop our portfolio as a total beverage company.”
The abv of Absolut & Sprite is expected to have a “global benchmark” of 5% but could fluctuate depending on individual markets.
Pernod Ricard is the second multinational distiller to work with The Coca-Cola Co. on launching RTDs.
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Last year, Brown-Forman announced the launch of a pre-mixed Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey and Coca-Cola cocktail. The drink first went on sale in Mexico last November before hitting more markets this year.
In July this year, The Coca-Cola Co. confirmed it had created a subsidiary, Red Tree Beverages, to further explore opportunities in alcohol.
The company said the unit, which it called a “firewalled subsidiary” of its main operations, received a federal basic permit (required by all alcohol distillers, importers, wholesalers operating in the US) late last year.
“This allows it [the company] to engage further in its relationships with third-party alcohol companies that use The Coca-Cola Company’s brands in the alcohol space,” the group said in a statement at the time. “RTB will not be distributing alcohol in the US, and neither will The Coca-Cola Company.”
The Coca-Cola Co.’s other interests in alcohol include Topo Chico Hard Seltzer and Simply Spiked Lemonade – two products developed with Molson Coors Beverage Co. – and Fresca Mixed RTDs, on which it worked with Constellation Brands.