While Coca-Cola is traditionally associated with its flagship Coke and other carbonated soft drinks, this has been changing considerably. The Coca-Cola Company has been clear in its ambitions to become a ‘total beverage company’ – offering beverages across various trending and growing categories including water, juice, dairy, and plant-based.
And Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company – a bottler covering 28 markets across a diverse geographical footprint in Europe and beyond* – has focused this into a clear complementary ambition: “tapping into new, lucrative, and fast-growing categories is part of our strategy of offering a beverage for every occasion around the clock.”
Its portfolio now spans across the day: from a morning coffee to a hard seltzer in the evening. And across the day CCHBC now plays in some more unexpected categories: such as premium spirits and snacks. The result? “The broadest and most flexible portfolio in the industry,” according to CCHBC.
Hard seltzer and alcohol
The diversification of the portfolio has been evident over the last two years: with the high profile launch of Topo Chico Hard Seltzer and Coca-Cola’s mega acquisition of Costa coffee, the world’s second largest coffee chain.
But in fact it is a process that has been going on over more than ten years. In 2009 CCHBC started a cooperation with Brown Forman on Jack Daniel’s, Finlandia and El Jimador – now covering nine markets. The following year it became the distributor of Edrington (Famous Grouse, Macallan, Brugal) – now covering 14 markets – and in 2016 it partnered with Gruppo Campari for Campari, Aperol and Grand Marnier across 14 markets).
Hard seltzer is the most recent launch for CCHBC: with Topo Chico Hard Seltzer launching in five CCHBC markets (Austria, Northern Ireland, Greece, the Republic of Ireland and Ukraine) alongside Great Britain (under Coca-Cola European Partners).
The December debut of the brand in Europe came ahead of its launch in the US – scheduled for the first half of this year (mainly down to the practicalities of navigating a simpler system for alcohol beverages in Europe).
The 4.7% ABV hard seltzer brand is available in 330ml sleek aluminium cans in three flavors: Tangy Lemon Lime, Tropical Mango and Cherry Acai. Each flavor is gluten-free, has 96 calories and two grams of sugar.
With the meteoric success of hard seltzers in the US, the motivation of launching in Europe is evident: with the continent’s more developed markets generally following US trends.
Wake up and smell the coffee
Coca-Cola completed its $4.9bn (£3.9bn) acquisition of Costa coffee in 2019. Since then, CCHBC has been at the forefront of expanding the brand into new occasions – in particular with packaged products for home and RTD drinks for on the go. The portfolio now covers everything from whole beans to capsules to RTD…