Cott to launch own-label alcoholic cola in the UK

Canadian company Cott, which rocked the cola market by supplying premium own-brand colas to supermarkets, is launching the first product under its own name in the UK.

It is an alcoholic cola called Barker’s Liquid Gold, labelled “made by Cott in the UK”. A spokesman for the company will not comment on whether this product is the first of a series. In the US, Cott has a range of food stuffs marketed by a division called Dave Nichol & Associates.

The UK differs from the US on the food side as British retailers already have considerable expertise sourcing and marketing own-label foods and any newcomer would find it a tough market to break into.

Barker’s Liquid Gold is a blend of vodka and cola and will be distributed in the UK by Merrydown from January 29. There are no plans to advertise the drink yet, though the company will be looking for an advertising agency in the future.

Cott is marketing the product on the back of the quality of its cola. The high quality of its cola syrup is the key factor behind its success in taking on Coca-Cola and Pepsi Cola by supplying supermarket chains, including Sainsbury’s and Safeway, as well as Virgin Cola.

“The alcoholic carbonates market has seen excellent growth in the UK with ‘lemonade mixes but there has been little credible success with colas, probably because of poor quality. Cott’s formula is simply a better product,” says Cott Europe managing director Simon Lester.

Other alcoholic colas on the market include Alcola and Cola Lips. The product is the latest to join the controversial list of alcohol and soft drink blends accused of encouraging underage drinking.

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