The neighborhood hangout. It’s where you go to catch up with friends, celebrate, debate, learn and even vent. No matter the backdrop – a church, community center, restaurant or shop – it’s always a hotspot of activity.

An emerging gathering spot in some Indian villages is the Splash Bar, a kiosk where a vendor dispenses ice cold Coca-Cola from a simple, durable machine into small cups at an affordable price.

What draws people to a Splash Bar is not just the refreshment and delight of Coca-Cola products – it’s the fact that the women running the kiosks have turned them into community centers.

The concept started with the goal of delivering Coca-Cola products in the most affordable format and packaging, while also providing entrepreneurship opportunities to rural women.

Now, the more than 2,000 women serving 3- to 5-oz. cups of Coca-Cola products are among the more than 1.2 million women Coca-Cola has economically empowered through its value chain, as part of the Company’s 5by20 initiative. 

Splash Bar was developed by BIG India under the leadership of T. Krishnakumar, CEO, Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Pvt. Ltd. (HCCB), who saw the value in expanding Coca-Cola markets as well as empowering local women to better their communities. 

“Splash Bar is great representation of how business can be conducted sustainably in India,” said T. (KK) Krishnakumar. “Our goal was to create a soft drink culture in the 600,000 villages of India. What emerged was a unique means of enhancing the incomes of women by training them to become entrepreneurs selling our products. In turn, we can now sell at affordable prices, reach a vast audience of new consumers and create a great experience for the communities we serve.”

In 2013, HHCB launched 31 Splash Bars run by rural women located around the botler's Goblej Plant in Gujarat. Now, more than 30,000 Splash Bars bars are selling more than 1.5 million cups of Coca-Cola products per day across the towns and villages of India.

Today, the Splash Bar success story has positive impacts across areas: it’s a bustling neighborhood hangout in some communities, it provides rural consumers with an authentic brand experience at an affordable price, and it has facilitated women entrepreneurs to earn around 4,000 rupees per month, contributing financially to their households.

At the 2016 Consumer Analysts Group of New York Investor Conference, Coca-Cola President and Chief Operating Officer James Quincey singled out the Splash Bar as one of several innovative ways the company is focusing on transactions over volume.

“…We see that it has been possible to take this idea of premiumization and affordability through a range of packages priced appropriately and drive transactions and revenue and, therefore, price through this strategy in North America,” Quincey said. “And conversely… the opposite end of the spectrum economically…the idea of affordability takes on a new dimension in India.”

By selling small amounts of Coca-Cola at an affordable price, whether at a Splash Bar in India or via an 8-ounce mini can in North America, consumers can look forward to more choice in beverage packaging and sizes.

And women serving cups of Coca-Cola at Splash Bars can look forward to more choice in their own futures. The money they make from each transaction helps them feed their families, fund their children’s education and even start savings accounts. Now that’s something worth talking about at your neighborhood hangout.