Jack Daniel’s whiskey maker Brown-Forman and Coca-Cola just announced a “global relationship” for a Jack & Coke canned cocktail. The distillery already offers a Whiskey & Cola pre-mixed cocktail. The new product will now marry the Coca-Cola brand to that combination.
The pre-mixed ready-to-drink cocktail will debut in Mexico in late 2022 before being made available in markets globally, the companies said in a statement. The drink will be packaged in black 350-ml (12-oz) cans with Jack Daniel’s and Coca-Cola branding. The companies will offer full sugar and Zero Sugar versions. The drink will contain 5.0% ABV in most markets. Brown-Forman said in the statement it has manufactured and marketed RTD cocktails for 30 years. Brown-Forman will manage all aspects of the product, in keeping with similar deals Coke has done since last year with brewer Molson-Coors and distiller Constellation Brands.
For decades Coca-Cola has resisted lending its brand directly to a “Jack and Coke” ready-to-drink product, despite the lore surrounding the Jack and Coke cocktail in popular culture. Even as brand managers and company leaders encouraged the combination in bars and restaurants, they worried an official relationship might pose a reputational or even legal risk for the brand.
“The can and packaging, which will feature two of the world’s most recognizable and valuable trademarks in Coca-Cola and Jack Daniel’s, will include clear responsibility symbols stating that it is to be enjoyed only by consumers of legal drinking age,” the joint statement read. “Jack Daniel’s & Coca-Cola RTDs will adhere to responsible marketing practices held by Brown-Forman and The Coca-Cola Company.”
It has also been unclear how Coke’s US soft drink bottlers, who have exclusive franchise rights to distribute Coca-Cola in the US, might benefit from such a partnership given complex laws governing alcohol distribution.
Times have changed as makers of non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages each look across sector lines for growth and efficiencies of scale. Coca-Cola has collaborated with Molson Coors for a Topo Chico Hard Seltzer that was launched early last year and since expanded, as well as a Simply Spiked hard lemonade launching this month. Early this year, Coke announced a licensing deal with distiller Constellation Brand for a spirit-based Fresca Mixed canned cocktail to be launched in the US later this year.