Coca-Cola’s Venturing & Emerging Brands (VEB) unit hopes to raise the bar for alcohol alternatives with the launch of a new line of booze-free adult sparkling drinks
Bar None is available in select package stores, bottle shops, restaurants and specialty markets in Coke’s hometown of Atlanta and online at www.drinkbarnone.com. Four varieties—Spiced Ginger Mule, Bellini Spritz, Dry Aged Cider and Sangria—were developed with bar-inspired flavors and on-trend ingredients to appeal to beer, wine and cocktail drinkers. The bottled drinks, which contain between 70 and 130 calories, are sweetened with juice blends or cane sugar. Four-packs of 12-oz. bottles retail for $7.99.
The idea for Bar None was sparked during an at-work conversation about substitutes for spirits – or, more specifically, the lack thereof.
“We talked about not wanting to drink as often, or as much, as we had before,” Sabrina Tandon, Bar None GM, recalled. “We wanted something we could actually look forward to enjoying as much as an alcoholic drink—something sip-able and savor-able.”
Studies show that Americans are drinking less and less. Brand research reveals that 18 percent of U.S. adults abstain from alcohol, and 35 percent of regular drinkers seek out nonalcoholic options. And according to external data sources, these trends are generation agnostic; Millennials are drinking less than Generation X-ers, and Gen Z-ers are imbibing less than Millennials.
“People are choosing not to drink for many different reasons,” said Tandon. “We’re not targeting a certain demographic; we’re targeting a mindset.”
Bar None made its debut in October at Taste of Atlanta, where nearly 3,000 festivalgoers sipped on the four varieties. Of samplers surveyed on-site, 93 percent said they would buy the beverages, and 78 percent said they’d drink Bar None straight up or over ice, without adding alcohol or other ingredients.
Tandon said the brand is being marketed in different ways depending on the channel.
“One restaurant partner, Gypsy Kitchen, has it on their brunch menu, as-is, while others may use it as a shortcut ingredient with a few cocktail recipes,” she explained. “Whereas in liquor stores, the average shopper isn’t looking for a nonalcoholic drink, so we’re positioning it as a mixer.
“This is a new category we’re helping to create. We’re a first mover in this space, which we think has a lot of potential. Our initial focus is on learning. We’re hoping that launching first in our backyard will be a recipe for entrepreneurial success.”