Alcohol-infused Fresca to hit market soon as beverage lines keep blurring

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Another soda brand is jumping into the alcohol market. Fresca Mixed, spirit-based, ready to drink cocktails, will hit stores this year as result of a deal announced today by Coca-Cola Co. and Constellation Brands, whose brands include Corona and Modelo beer and Svedka vodka.

The arrangement continues the trend of soda and booze makers hooking up to leverage well-known brand names for new products intended to capitalize on growing consumer thirst for options beyond traditional beer and liquor. Late last year, PepsiCo and Sam Adams-owner Boston Beer Co. announced plans for Hard Mtn Dew, which marked a watershed moment in the blurring of soda-booze lines. Coca-Cola first got its feet wet in the alcohol market with last year’s U.S. introduction of Topo Chico Hard Seltzer, which is marketed and distributed by Chicago-based Molson Coors.

With Fresca Mixed, Constellation is trying to seize a slice of the surging interest in so-called adult alternative beverages, an $8 billion segment that includes ready-to-drink cocktails. The category is expected to enjoy growth of 15% to 17% in the next three years “with trusted consumer brands commanding a significant share of the market,” according to market research for Victor, N.Y.-based Constellation, which runs its beer division out of its Chicago offices.

Constellation in a statement cited the growth of regular Fresca, saying it is “currently the fastest-growing soft drink trademark in The Coca-Cola Company’s U.S. portfolio,” and is “favored by consumers and celebrities as a cocktail mixer, a soft drink, and a zero-calorie, zero-sugar sparkling soda water.”

Fresca “is not only trusted by consumers, but also directly delivers on consumer preferences for refreshment, flavor, and convenience – attributes that also play well within beverage alcohol and where we can leverage our expertise,” said Constellation CEO Bill Newlands.

Dan White, chief of new revenue streams for the Coca-Cola North America Operating Unit added: “Our new relationship with Constellation Brands is ideal due to their consumer-focused approach to brand building, expansive distribution network, and distilled distribution expertise.”