Coca-Cola aims to be ‘total beverage business’ with Jack Daniel’s collaboration

Elaine Maher, associate director alcohol ready to drink, says the RTD category is an 'exciting place to be'

jack coke elaine maher

The launch of the Jack Daniel’s and Coca-Cola alcoholic ready-to-drink (ARTD) can is part of Coca-Cola’s aim to be a “total beverage business”, says the supplier’s associate director of alcohol ready to drink.

In an interview with Better Retailing, Coca-Cola Europacific Partners’ (CCEP) Elaine Maher said the ARTD segment was the right segment to expand into.

“The ARTD category is super-dynamic which makes it an exciting place to be, and as a company we want to make great-tasting drinks and tap into other occasions, and that’s our goal, to be a total beverage business,” she said. “You’ve got no one key player, which makes it exciting. What’s great about RTDs is they offer a lot of choice, and whisky variants are doing well which perfectly places us to work with Jack Daniel’s. Offering two variants in a category that’s doing really well is the perfect place for us, especially as our first foray into this space.”

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The original Jack Daniel’s & Cola RTD was already the number-one premixed line in the UK, worth more than £18m in retail sales value in impulse, and seeing 11.2% value and 10.6% volume growth prior to the launch of the new variety.

Additionally, the UK is the biggest ARTD market in Europe, and expected to be one of the biggest contributors to the sector’s growth between now and 2030. Premixed cocktails are expected to drive the majority of this growth. “Looking at such a dynamic category led by consumer trends helping shape that marketplace, we know from what they’re asking from us that we need to play there,” said Maher.

“The opportunity came to work with Jack Daniel’s and we couldn’t say no, it’s one of the biggest bar calls in the world, if not the biggest, so making sure we answer consumer needs and offer that both in Original Taste and Zero Sugar is the perfect partnership.”

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The collaboration’s availability in a Zero Sugar variety was particularly important, Maher added: “Making that offering with taste parity gives consumers the option, and choice is what they want provided.” In soft drinks, Coca-Cola’s low- and no-sugar options are leading growth, with Coca-Cola Zero Sugar and Diet Coke making up 52% of retail sales under the Coca-Cola trademark.

To support the launch, CCEP is launching the ‘Born ready’ consumer campaign this month, targeting existing, lapsed and new ARTD consumers via sampling. There is also outdoor advertising, including in London’s Piccadilly Circus, online, social media and influencer marketing. Maher said retailers will also have access to a suite of PoS assets through My.CCEP.com. “When the sun shines, I think we’re going to see some real fireworks in the category and some really strong sales, which will be fantastic,” she said.

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