Coca-Cola and Absolut Vodka maker team up for canned Sprite cocktails

New ready-to-drink cocktail to debut in Europe next year
No. 6 Sprite - 6.0% (up 0.1)



No. 6 Sprite - 6.0% (up 0.1)

Coca-Cola is going deeper into the ready-to-drink cocktail market, announcing a partnership Monday for a canned Absolut Vodka and Sprite beverage.

Atlanta-based Coke and French wine and spirits giant Pernod Ricard said Absolut & Sprite will be available in Europe early next year with regular Sprite and Sprite Zero Sugar versions. The beverages will debut in Europe, including in Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and United Kingdom. The companies did not announce a U.S. launch date.

As soda sales have generally flattened, Coke has sought new ways to add a little fizz to its legacy brands. These include partnerships with spirits makers to produce canned versions of cocktails that use some of its most popular soft drinks. Perhaps the best known of these has been Jack & Coke, with Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey.

Coke Chairman and CEO James Quincey said in a news release that the Absolute & Sprite launch is part of its efforts “to develop its portfolio as a total beverage company.”

“We are expanding in the alcohol ready-to-drink space, including products that use select brands from our core portfolio,” he said.

The new product will be made available at 5% alcohol by volume in most markets, though that could vary depending upon local regulations.

Alexandre Ricard, CEO of Pernod Ricard, said in the release, that “Sprite is a wonderful pairing for Absolut.”

“This very promising and pioneering project brings together two leading companies who are committed to offering their consumers new experiences around premium products,” Richard said.

Pernod Ricard also produces noted brands including The Glenlivet Scotch whisky, Martell cognac, Beefeater gin and Perrier-Jouët champagne.

Coke sells an alcoholic drink known as Lemon-Dou in Japan, but the company has yet to enter the U.S. alcohol market on its own. The U.S. booze sector is highly regulated and rules vary by states.

Instead, Coke — best known for its soft drinks, Minute Maid juices and Powerade energy drinks — has ventured into partnerships to make spiked versions of some of its beverage brands. Other Coca-Cola products turned cocktails include Topo Chico Hard Seltzer, which is made by Molson Coors, as well as Fresca ready-to-drink cocktails launched in partnership with Constellation Brands.