Topo Chico Is Getting Spiked [Updated]

Update, September 22, 2020: This year has seen many of us pin a lot of hopes on the year 2021. It's when all those highly anticipated movies, TV shows, and plays will finally debut. It's when we might be able to take those vacations we canceled. It's when we might get a vaccine. And it's when Coca-Cola, two years (fashionably) late to the party, will finally debut its new hard seltzer in the U.S., according to CNBC.

James Quincey, CEO of Coca-Cola, said in an interview on Mad Money this week that after its launch in Mexico and Brazil this fall, Topo Chico Hard Seltzer will launch here in the U.S. in the "first half of 2021." (Just like everything else good in this world.) 

"I think what it does say is: Look, we're going to follow the consumer," Quincey told Mad Money on Monday. Yes, following those consumers into a beverage category valued at $3 billion is probably a wise move. And now that we've gotten confirmation that "sometime in 2021" means "sometime before July 2021," we have at least a broad date range to pin our hopes on.

Original post, July 30, 2020: It's been a weird week for beverage news. Budweiser has announced the release of its very first beer containing no alcohol, and Coca-Cola, which owns the beloved and famously non-alcoholic seltzer brand Topo Chico, has announced that a new boozy version of the drink will be "offered in select cities in Latin America later this year."

Coca-Cola's press release announcing this earth-shattering product is short—almost insultingly short, considering the typical bubbly verbosity of your average press release. Here's the announcement, in full:

The Coca-Cola Company is committed to exploring new products in dynamic beverage categories, including hard seltzer. Topo Chico Hard Seltzer is an experimental drink inspired by Topo Chico sparkling mineral water, which has been popular with many mixologists. Topo Chico Hard Seltzer will be offered in select cities in Latin America later this year. We will share more details closer to launch.

This announcement sounds measured, cautious, even resigned. Why, though? Why isn't the company more excited by this new product? Its prospective customers in the U.S. sure are; many of us (I'm assuming I can't be the only one?) use Topo as the perfect base for mixed drinks already, and a pre-spiked version would make things a lot simpler. There's a general consensus that this seltzer has the sharpest, fizziest bubbles of any seltzer on the market, so hopefully that aspect of Topo is preserved in the new product. And while we're at it, Topo is also a key ingredient in coffee drinks and hangover cures, so why doesn't Coca-Cola innovate some ready-to-drink versions of those, too?

While it isn't mentioned in the announcement above, Coca-Cola confirmed to Bloomberg that it planned to offer Topo Chico Hard Seltzer in the U.S. starting in 2021. Another interesting tidbit from Bloomberg: "The Atlanta-based company wants to diversify its beverage portfolio as consumers migrate away from sugary soft drinks." Give me a Topo over a Coke any day.