Although Coca-Cola and the various brands they own are widely used as mixers for spirits around the world, the company are yet in their 132 year history to bring out an alcoholic beverage of their own.

But that’s all about to change, for one country anyway. Coca-Cola will be launching their first inebriating drink in Japan.

According to the Guardian, the alcoholic drink is likely to only be sold in Japan due to the ‘special qualities' of the domestic market.

The company are taking aim at the chu-hi market. These sweet, sparkling beverages can be found in any supermarket or convenience store in Japan and even some vending machines. The prices are very affordable, usually under 200 yen for a can and they come in a range of flavours and strengths. It could be this variety that has caused the drinks to prove so popular.

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The name ‘chu-hi’ is an abbreviation of shochu highball. Shochu is a Japanese spirit similar to nihonshu (rice wine, known as sake overseas), but it differs in the production as it is distilled rather than brewed. Shochu can also be made with a variety of raw materials such as barley rice, sweet potato or buckwheat. Barley is the most popular choice. The second word, highball is used in Japan to describe a spirit and mixer. Often this will be a whiskey highball (whiskey and soda).

Although the name derives from sho-chu, some brands use vodka instead for their canned libations.

The flavours seem to be as varied as they can get. Citrus and other fruity flavours are popular, but how about one that tastes like furikake rice topping?

Source: © Mishima Foods Co., Ltd.

If you’re worried about looking girly by opting for a fruity drink, how about this sour, manly plum? The name 'otokoume' literally means man plum.

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Or this lemon flavour one which has added vitamin C. Got to stay healthy while you’re out on the lash.

Source: PR Times

The alcoholic strength also ranges. At one end of the popular brand spectrum is the mild Horoyoi (meaning to get a little tipsy) which comes in at 3% and at the other end is the intimidating Strong Zero at 8 or 9%.

With so much variation on the market already, it’ll be exciting to see what kind of chu-hi the Coca-Cola company comes up with. Will it rival Strong Zero in its potency? Will it have a fruity flavour? Will it be anything like coke as we know it now, or something completely different?

One thing we’re confident of is that the can will probably get a sakura makeover every spring…

By - grape Japan editorial staff.