LATIN AMERICA – Coca-Cola has announced that it will be launching a hard seltzer under its Topo Chico brand later this year, with the drink to be initially available in select cities in Latin America.

According to CNCB reports, Topo Chico Hard Seltzer will launch in the United States in 2021, making it the company’s first foray into alcoholic beverages in its home market for the first time since it sold its Wine Spectrum business in 1983.

The beverage giant purchased Texas’ cult favorite sparkling water brand, Topo Chico in 2017 for US$220 million.

This is the company’s first move into the hard seltzer space. It follows the success of the company’s ready to drink (RTD) alcohol beverage in Japan.

In a statement, the company said: “The Coca-Cola Company is committed to exploring new products in dynamic beverage categories, including hard seltzer.

“Topo Chico Hard Seltzer is an experimental drink inspired by Topo Chico sparkling mineral water, which has been popular with many mixologists.”

On the company’s second-quarter earnings call, CEO James Quincey said, “We are shifting to prioritizing fewer but bigger and stronger brands across various consumer needs.” He named Topo Chico as a rising star in the company portfolio.

The hard seltzer will not be made using Topo Chico’s sparkling water, which has been sourced and bottled in Monterrey, Mexico since 1895.

The ‘hard seltzer’ market has seen such phenomenal growth that now everyone wants a piece. According to a grand view report, the global hard seltzer market size was valued at US$4.4 billion in 2019 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.2% from 2020 to 2027.

The category is growing at a fast pace, leading to new hard seltzer launches across several brands.

In May, Anheuser-Busch launched Social Club Seltzer, a premium seltzer with cocktail flavors, like an Old Fashioned, which is typically made with whiskey, a sugar cube and bitters.

At the beginning of 2018, just 10 hard seltzer brands were on the market, according to a Nielsen report, a number that rose to 26 brands by early 2019. “More than 65 brands are now fighting for consumers’ attention and purchase,” according to Nielsen.

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