Cott moots launch of alcoholic cola

Cott opens discussions with Sol architect Harry Drnec over launch of own-label proof cola brand

Cott, the own-label cola supplier which has successfully taken on both Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, is in talks with Harry Drnec – the man who brought Sol beer to the UK – about producing an alcoholic cola.

Drnec, former chief executive at specialist drinks distributor Maison Caurette, has set up a new venture, Thorn Lodge, to negotiate the deal.

Thorn Lodge will call the new drink Alco-Cola. It has yet to agree a supplier deal.

The company is holding talks with Cott, the Canadian outfit that produces own-label colas for Sainsbury’s and Safeway, as well as Virgin Cola. It is also in negotiations with Cott’s US rival Monarch, which produces own-label cola for Nurdin & Peacock. A decision is expected within weeks.

Drnec will also introduce another alcoholic cola variant to Mrs Pucker’s range of alcoholic citrus drinks. These are produced by another of his ventures, Inter Continental.

This variant will sit alongside alcoholic lemonade, alcoholic orangeade and, possibly, alcoholic grapefruit.

Drnec made his name by introducing the premium beers Sol and Miller Genuine Draft to the UK. He left Maison Caurette earlier this month following the company’s merger with Latchford Wine Holdings (MW September 15).

Cott has already produced own-label alcoholic drinks for Sainsbury’s by supplying the cola for its White Rum and Classic Cola brand. Cott is understood to be seeking new sectors in the UK.

The first alcoholic cola was launched in August by Lanchester Group. Called Cola Lips, it partnered Lemon Lips, which followed fast on the heels of Bass’ alcoholic lemonade Hooper’s Hooch.

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