- Coca Cola’s new non-alcoholic cocktail concept, Bar None, is being rolled out in Atlanta, according to Atlanta Magazine. The beverage comes in four flavors: Sangria, Bellini Spritz, Dry Aged Cider and Ginger Mule.
- The drink — which was created by Coke's Director of Portfolio Strategy and Innovation Sabrina Tandon — was the result of consumer research that showed current non-alcoholic beverage options weren't offering what consumers were craving. The four flavors aim to satisfy consumer tastes regardless of their preferred alcoholic beverage, Tandon said.
- "Based on the research and data I’ve seen, I do think it will stay, and I think [demand] is going to increase," Tandon told the magazine. "We're definitely seeing millennials drinking [alcohol] less than Gen-Xers, and centennials [also known as generation Z] drinking less than millennials."
Low- and no-alcohol beers, wine and spirits are getting a lot of attention from American consumers recently —showing beverage companies that there is a market of people who enjoy the taste of drinking, but do not necessarily want the effects of alcohol.
Recognizing the need for beverages that cater to this market, big beer has already reformulated some of its recipes to remove the inebriation factor as the market for beer continues to decline. In the nonalcoholic beer sector, Heineken launched its 0.0% MAXX last year in Europe; AB InBev announced plans to expand its no-alcohol and low-alcohol beer offerings and Coors has its own nonalcoholic brand. Diageo has even tapped deeper into the market by taking a minority stake in U.K.-based non-alcoholic spirits producer Seedlip. The movement and high demand in this sector has demonstrated that consumers are increasingly interested in enjoying a non-alcoholic version of their preferred drink.
But Coca Cola is the first major non-alcohol beverage company to see the growing trend and respond. There have been smaller companies such as Alko, Mr. Fitzpatrick and Mocktails Brands who have stepped into the mocktail space, but none have been successful enough to create long-term buzz about their products. Coca Cola, however, has the strength through its marketing and distribution channels to bring its non-alcoholic, pseudo-sodas to the forefront of consumers’ attention. With Coca-Cola's reputation, if the drinks do mimic the exact taste of the cocktail flavors and consumers become repeat customers, then it does have the potential to become a hit.
This move is likely a wise choice for a company that has been expanding its portfolio into alcoholic drinks, teas, sports drinks and other better-for-you beverages in order to compensate for slipping soda sales. At the same time, although not infused with a substance, these non-alcoholic beverages shouldn't compete directly with Coca Cola’s other drinks — which include waters, juices, energy drinks and traditional sodas — because the products offer a completely different taste and would likely attract a new audience. Currently, Bar None drinks are only sold in Atlanta, but they can be purchased online. The beverages will likely move into more cities depending on their success.
With the company’s soda-making know-how, there is a good chance these drinks will push all the right buttons for consumers’ taste buds. Once that happens, they will take a foothold in the market that is thirsty for options outside of ginger beer and water when they fancy a drink but are unwilling or unable to consume alcohol.