Darker direction for soft drinks giant

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The new products are designed to complement the complex flavours of premium spirits

COCA-Cola European Partners (CCEP) is aiming to mix up the on-trade spirit/mixer market with the launch of a new range of flavoured colas designed to be paired with quality dark spirits.

Launching next month, Coca-Cola Signature Mixers is a range of four colas that have been created in collaboration with mixologists from across Europe.

CCEP said that, after a decade of growth for gin, discerning drinkers are now keen to explore darker spirits – such as golden rum, whisky and bourbon – and are looking to bar staff to help them experiment with the categories.

The project began in March 2018, when the firm invited mixologists to help create the new soft drinks, giving them access to over 200 contemporary and traditional ingredients.

The new flavours include smoky, spicy, herbal and woody variants and will be available in 200ml bottles, with each product bearing the signature of the bartenders who helped create them.

The launch is set to be supported with a marketing campaign that will include social media, digital and out of home advertising.

Trade and consumer experiential activity will begin in June and run throughout the rest of the year with more partnerships to be announced with mixologists and spirits brands. On-trade training for bar staff will also be made available as well as new back-bar displays, glassware and menus.

Simon Harrison, vice president of commercial development at CCEP, said: “By collaborating with experts, we believe that we have developed a totally innovative and unique product range for mixology that only Coca-Cola can do.

“We’re excited to be able to introduce this new and innovative product to the on-trade. We have started to see strong growth in dark spirits like whisky and rum and a brand like Coca-Cola innovating in this segment with complex flavours and distinct pack design – in keeping with our heritage – will bring more curiosity to an exciting sector.”