How will Coke stay relevant in a craft world?

By Nicholas Robinson

- Last updated on GMT

Not canned: Coke has a role to play in a 'craft' market
Not canned: Coke has a role to play in a 'craft' market
A rise in the number of ‘craft’ soft drinks products on the market – an already roaring trend in beer, cider and spirits – won’t pose an immediate threat to Coca-Cola and is likely to lead to more innovation in the sector.

That’s according to Coca-Cola European Partners’ out-of-home director Rob Harris, who told The Morning Advertiser ​(MA​) the trend would have a similar role to play in softs as it has in alcohol.

It was inevitable more craft soft drinks would enter the marketing in coming months and years, because “looking at the craft beer industry, we are usually a little further down the track”, said Harris.

“Do I see it as a risk, though? No, I don’t think I do. I think it’s good to bring innovation into the category. Hopefully we are evolving our portfolio [to work around those trends].

‘Those consumer needs’

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“But we have products that play into those consumer needs that craft has. But I think it’s good for the category.”

The out-of-home drinks boss added Coke is a product that transcends categories such as the likes of craft and premium because it is historic, familiar and drunk by millions of people whatever their background.

CCEP vice-president and general manager for Great Britain Leendert den Hollander told MA ​the products in the drinks company’s portfolio, such as Schweppes, while not classed as ‘craft’, were primed to complement the likes of the craft spirits market.

“There’s a big trend in craft spirits at the moment and changing flavours and experiences by using soft drinks,” he said.

“If you look at gin and tonic, what we’re trying to do with Schweppes is basically playing on that trend by talking about the quality of the product.”

Low-sugar push

Meanwhile, CCEP is to journey on another big low-sugar push spearheaded by its new Coca-Cola Zero sugar and existing Diet Coke variants, along with smaller Schweppes and Appletiser cans.

It is expected sales of Zero and Diet will outperform those of Classic Coca-Cola next year for the first time.

New slim 250ml cans for Appletiser and the Schweppes Sparkling brand will be launched this year, in favour of the former 330ml cans.

The company has also added to its partnership with Formula One’s Lewis Hamilton by launching a new LH44 variant of Monster, which the sporting celeb had a hand in creating.

Related topics: Soft & Hot Drinks, Soft drinks

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