Coca-Cola places hopes on hot ginger ale

It wants to tap into Japan's warm beverage market as it faces cooling sales in North America and elsewhere.

By Jason Notte Sep 6, 2013 7:08AM
Cans of 'Canada Dry Hot Ginger Ale' produced by the Coca-Cola Company Japan Business Unit, are displayed at a media briefing in Tokyo on September 4, 2013 (© KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images)The origins of mulled wine trickle back to first-century Rome. The hot toddy dates to 16th-century Scotland.

Why shouldn't there be a hot soft drink as well?

Coca-Cola (KO) certainly sees the potential in it. The company's Japanese offshoot plans to introduce "hot" Canada Dry Ginger Ale in October. With hot, spiced drinks popular in Japan during the cold months, Coca-Cola is hoping that a Canada Dry featuring ginger extract and apple and cinnamon flavors will catch on.

Canned hot tea and coffee are already prevalent in Japan, including Coca-Cola's Georgia Coffee brand dispensed hot from vending machines. Tapping into a nice market there may help Coca-Cola offset some of its woes in North America, where sales dropped 4% last quarter and have declined in four of the last five quarters.

Then again, not all of Coca-Cola's international endeavors turn have ended pleasantly. Its recent "Share A Coke" personalized bottle campaign in Europe came under fire when the company's list of available names excluded quite a few of the continent's more popular monikers.

Even in Mexico, where Coca-Cola is wildly popular, the company is under fire for playing a role in the country's ongoing obesity epidemic that has made it the most overweight nation on the planet.

With the coconut water market increasingly slipping from its grasp and both energy drinks and sports drinks under scrutiny, Coca-Cola's options for increasing market share and winning hearts and minds is shrinking. Then again, that sounds like just the kind of worry and anxiety that a hot can of ginger ale can soothe.

More on moneyNOW

Sep 6, 2013 10:15AM
I will stick with a icy cold COCA COLA in the glass bottle ! still taste the best
Sep 6, 2013 10:57AM
There is already a ginger ale that has been both cold and hot for well over a hundred years. It is Vernor's Ginger Ale and it will never be matched, it is the BEST.
Sep 6, 2013 10:42AM
Just don't stop making Vanilla Coke Please !!!
Sep 6, 2013 9:03AM

IF you have ever been to the World of Cocacola in Atlanta and tried all the international beverages, you will agree that there are flavors that just don't belong in America.


Thank God Mr. Pibb gets red of the flavor of anything.

Sep 6, 2013 9:45AM

Back when BandStand was popular Dick Clark would praise the benefits of Dr. Pepper served hot! Remember?

"10, 2 or 4, antime is good for a cup of Dr. Pepper served hot!" 

Sep 6, 2013 9:49AM
Hot Vernor's was popular when I was a kid.
Sep 6, 2013 10:53AM
I've never had hot ginger ale, but I do love ginger ale, so I'd definitely try this.
Sep 6, 2013 12:08PM
Put enough Ginger in your ginger ale and it will be 'hot', as in peppery hot, even when ice cold. I believe there's a brand in the Carolinas known to be 'hot' - Blenheims...
Sep 6, 2013 11:03AM
I prefer Gosling's ginger beer when I want something a bit more harsh with a ginger flavor. However, this sounds pretty good.
Sep 6, 2013 10:43AM
I love hot ginger ale when I have a sore throat...I doubt I would drink it when I 'm not sick though
Sep 6, 2013 11:34AM
I only drink ginger ale when there is bourbon in it..........a LOT of bourbon.
Sep 6, 2013 11:32AM
I have never had hot ginger ale but I do mix a little shaved ginger in with my hot apple cider.
As for Ginger Ale I prefer it with a little heavy cream added, It froths up and make a smooth milk shake that tastes great.
Sep 6, 2013 12:23PM
I freaking HATE these ignorant MSN stories.  4% of hundreds of millions of dollars in the U.S. is a drop in the bucket considering that Coke is the best selling soft drink in the world.  Come on people, stop believing the crapola that MSN and Yahoo! are laying on you.
Sep 6, 2013 11:03AM
i like hot root beer in the winter.  i just sit the can in a bowl of hot water of under running tap water.  it's just as good as hot tea.
Sep 6, 2013 11:15AM
If a hot drink is desired the best drink is still good old coffee.  Heating up a soft drink does not appeal to me I like my sodas cold.
Sep 6, 2013 12:40PM

   I think Coke is on the right track with hot beverage for the fall & winter seasons. Every Halloween, I make a mulled spiced apple cider. Actually, you can buy the spiced cider in a sugar-free or non-sugar-free powder form. most specialty stores & sometimes even Kroger sells a couple different brands of it. Next, you will want to get a bag of mulling spices. I get mine at The Golden Carrot, but I'm sure that now the way that Paducah is growing, you can probably buy the mulling spices at several places.

   I m a Coca-Cola lover & have been all my life! I hope that they can make a comeback, either on some great promotional ideas or even with the hot Canada Dry. I think with some mulling spices & a stick or pinch of cinnamon, it might just be a winner! 

   Now, for those who might prefer a nice warm toddy on a cold Autumn or Winter night. Make this nice hot spiced mulled cider as I explained it above. Maybe this year I might try using Canada Dry & adding the mulling spices to it, then add a shot of Captain Morgan Spiced Rum. Finish with a cinnamon stick to stir! I'll bet it will taste great, either with or without the Rum!         

   I was a bartender for 40 years & I was always making up all kinds of new drinks, both alcoholic & non-alcoholic, both hot & cold. I 'll bet that if I had ever had access to a place, like I presume that Coca-Cola has, to experiment with their products & flavors, I don't think their business would be running behind ANY of their competitors!

   COCA-COLA is still Number 1 in my opinion! Pepsi, (not to mention any names) tastes like a flat Coke that has sat opened  in a refrigerator for a couple of days! FLAT & TASTELESS!

Sep 6, 2013 11:34AM

The flavors really don't sound that bad, but I can't get past the initial weirdness of even thinking about drinking warm ginger ale. Yuck. However, I would not mind drinking this over ice.

Sep 6, 2013 12:34PM

 I think it sounds interesting even though I only have a soft drink a couple times a year. I would try it for sure.

Sep 6, 2013 10:57AM
I LOVE to boil my ginger ale, then put a apple spice or ginger tea packet in there....really nice to soothe your stomach upsets...especially if you use a ginger flavor tea...
Sep 9, 2013 6:05PM
Blenheim out of SC has been making hot ginger ale long before anyone else. Hard to find though.
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