On June 13, Brown Forman and the Coca-Cola Company announced a new global relationship, with the classic combination of ‘Jack & Coke’ being introduced as a RTD cocktail in late 2022.

The new RTD will be debuted in Mexico as a test market towards the end of this year, with ‘markets around the world’ due to follow.

The Shout reached out to Marisa Murray, Marketing Manager for Jack Daniel’s at Brown-Forman, who commented that “Australia will be part of the partnership with Coca-Cola.”

However, Murray continued that “we don’t have a date confirmed for Australia yet, but will be following other markets.”

Overall, Murray said that she and her team were “very excited to see us bring together two classic icons – Jack Daniel’s and Coca-Cola – in an RTD.”

This sentiment was echoed by Lawson Whiting, CEO and President of Brown-Forman.

“This relationship brings together two classic American icons to deliver consumers a taste experience they love in a way that is consistent, convenient, and portable.”

“Coca-Cola perfectly complements Jack Daniel’s and our existing RTD offerings, enabling us to accelerate expansion and continue to grow our business around the world.”

Chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company, James Quincey, also expressed his company’s delight at securing the partnership.

“We are excited about our new relationship with Brown-Forman and look forward to the introduction of Jack Daniel’s & Coca-Cola.”

News of this partnership follows suggestions by Quincey that additional RTD cocktails maybe on the way for the Brazilian market.

Initial indications are that the ‘global benchmark’ ABV will be 5 per cent, though may vary from market to market. A no-sugar version is also in the works.

IWSR provides Mexican context

Following the news of the ‘Jack and Coke’ partnership, global drinks market analysts IWSR provided an update which detailed why the companies had chosen Mexico as a test market.

The IWSR identifies that Mexico and Brazil are the two largest beverage alcohol markets in South America, and that the established logistics and production networks that both Brown-Forman and Coca-Cola possess place the companies at an advantage.

While in markets such as Australia and the US, the hard seltzer trend has eaten into share for traditional pre-mix RTDs, the IWSR states that this is not as strongly the case in the Mexican market.

‘Most hard seltzers in Mexico sell along the Mexico/US border and Mexico City, where US influences and exchanges are stronger,’ the IWSR explained.

In Mexico in particular, RTDs are enjoying a significant boom, as the IWSR’s statement reads: ‘RTDs have been a permanent feature in Mexico for the past thirty years. The size of the RTD market has nearly trebled in the last twenty years, and doubled in the last ten.’

“RTDs have been growing for years in Mexico, and consumers are still seeking local flavours for refreshing alternatives to beer,” says Jose Luis Hermoso, Research Director at the IWSR.

“They are proving popular with Mexican drinkers when relaxing during the day and are also strongly associated with online socialising.

“Home-based socialising, including virtual get-togethers, is expected to remain popular among Mexicans as the worst effects of the COVID-19 pandemic recede and the on-trade recovers.”

According to the IWSR, a growing young legal-drinking-age population, and increasing participation of women in the market, is expected to benefit the RTD category in the long-term.

Furthermore, while beer accounted of 94 per cent of total Mexican alcohol volume in 2021, the IWSR states that: ‘The growth rate of RTDs between 2021 and 2026 is expected to be double that of beer over the same period (two per cent volume CAGR for beer in Mexico 2021 – 2026; four per cent for RTDs).’

The reasons for choosing Mexico as a launch market are therefore somewhat transparent, though with Australia a traditionally strong market for American Whiskey RTDs, it will likely not be too long before these products arrive on these shores.

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