Consumers in Mexico and Brazil will enjoy the very first sips of Topo Chico Hard Seltzer.

The new product – which went from concept to commercialization in six months during the coronavirus pandemic – will debut this month in Mexico City, Puebla, Acapulco, Tijuana, Guadalajara and Monterrey (the birthplace of Topo Chico sparkling mineral water), as well as Rio De Janiero and São Paulo.

Topo Chico Hard Seltzer is inspired by Topo Chico’s 125-year heritage, cult-like following and growing popularity as a craft cocktail mixer. Three gluten-free flavors – Tangy Lemon Lime, Stawberry Guava and Pineapple Twist – will be available in Latin America in sleek aluminum cans. 

James Quincey, chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company, spoke about the launch with CNBC’s Jim Cramer on Sept. 21. “The Topo Chico brand has tremendous relevance and resonance with Millennial consumers,” Quincey said. “So I think this is going to be a great opportunity for us… it's very synergistic for the Coke system globally. We're going to experiment with a number of cities around the world… just one of the many things we're doing to really focus our portfolio to be very consumer centric and drive those brands that can create scale for us.”

A digital-driven marketing campaign will support the brand’s initial rollout in Latin America, which will be followed by the United States in the first half of 2021. 

The Coca-Cola Company will take a test-and-learn approach before expanding Topo Chico Hard Seltzer to more markets. “We want to move with speed and flexibility to deliver what we believe is a solid consumer and customer proposition,” said Younes.

All three flavors have 100 calories with 4.7% alcohol by volume (ABV). “Topo Chico Hard Seltzer will appeal to drinkers who are looking for a refreshing, lighter alternative to other higher-calorie, higher-sugar alcoholic beverages,” added Younes. “Most hard seltzer fans are migrating from beer, so this growth will be incremental to our business.”

Topo Chico Hard Seltzer was developed by a cross-functional, agile team of leaders from around the world, serving as an early proof point of the company’s new networked organizational model.

“The difficult COVID-19 lockdown environment paradoxically played the role of an accelerator for the project. And, arguably, Topo Chico Hard Seltzer might not be where it is today without that unexpected context,” said Younes. “The new virtual working environment meant we eliminated many of the usual work constraints, liberating new ways for fast knowledge sharing, boundary-less collaboration and the ability to move quickly.”

Topo Chico Hard Seltzer is the company’s latest foray into alcoholic beverages, joining Japan’s Lemon-Do, an authentically crafted, sour lemon drink in the chu-hi category.