Coca-Cola mulls entry into UK alcohol market?

Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Coca-Cola has filed a trademark EH Canning Co with the UK Intellectual Property Office, and, quite significantly, the name is listed against two classes related to beer and other alcoholic drinks.

The soft drinks giant has downplayed the development, with a spokesperson only saying that the company “files for hundreds of trademarks each year worldwide.”

The trademark is filed under class 32 which pertains to beers; mineral and aerated waters and other non-alcoholic drinks; fruit drinks and fruit juices; syrups and other preparations for making beverages and 33 which covers alcoholic beverages except beer.

While synonymous with cola and other non-alcoholic drinks, Coca-Cola has already made its foray into the alcohol sector, launching Chu-Hi drinks – which usually have between three and nine percent alcohol – in Japan in 2018.

Earlier in the 1970s, the company had dabbled in the wine business.

When launching Chu-Hi drinks, the company termed the move as country-specific, clarifying that it should not be seen as a harbinger of its intentions elsewhere.

“I don’t think people around the world should expect to see this kind of thing from Coca-Cola. While many markets are becoming more like Japan, I think the culture here is still very unique and special, so many products that are born here will stay here,” Coca-Cola Japan president Jorge Garduno said at the time.

However, the move has been an example of the brand exploring opportunities outside its core areas.

The latest development in the UK assumes significance as Coca-Cola is in the midst of a broader campaign to diversify beyond sodas as consumers in the US and other developed markets are backing off sweet drinks out of health concerns.

Coca-Cola in 1977 sought to diversify into wine, purchasing Taylor Wines of New York and establishing Wine Spectrum that comprised Sterling Vineyards and Monterey Vineyard.

But Coca-Cola exited the venture six years later, selling Spectrum for $200 million.

(With Agencies)