Constellation Brands Inc., Victor, N.Y., entered into a brand authorization agreement with The Coca-Cola Co., Atlanta, in the United States to bring the FRESCA brand into beverage alcohol through the manufacturing, marketing, distribution and launch of FRESCA Mixed, a new line of spirit-based, ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktails that are well-aligned to a number of emerging consumer trends, it says.

“The Coca-Cola Co.’s FRESCA brand is not only trusted by consumers, but also directly delivers on consumer preferences for refreshment, flavor, and convenience ― attributes that also play well within beverage alcohol and where we can leverage our expertise,” said Bill Newlands, Constellation’s president and CEO, in a statement.

Adult alternative beverages, including RTD cocktails, represents nearly an $8 billion segment projected to grow at a 15-17% compound annual growth rate during the next three years, with trusted consumer brands commanding a significant share of the market, according to Constellation Brands market research.

FRESCA is experiencing a surge in popularity with consumers and is currently the fastest growing soft drink trademark in The Coca-Cola Co.’s U.S. portfolio, according to Nielsen AMC data ending Nov. 27, 2021. Favored by consumers and celebrities as a cocktail mixer, a soft drink, and a zero-calorie, zero-sugar sparkling soda water, consumers consider FRESCA the No. 1 most unique and different product in the soft drink category, according to Bev360 research from December 2020 12MMT. Leveraging its credentials as a popular mixer that lifts all spirits it’s paired with, FRESCA Mixed cocktails will balance the FRESCA flavor consumers expect with quality spirit bases rooted in Constellation’s expertise. The new FRESCA Mixed will be a distinctive and intriguing brand that delivers consumers fuller-flavored, convenient, RTD cocktails using real spirits that are great tasting and high quality.

“One of the core tenets of our innovation strategy is a belief in the power of extending strong and trusted brands in thoughtful ways to bring to market unique products that resonate with consumers,” said Mallika Monteiro, Constellation’s chief growth, strategy and digital officer. “This is an exciting agreement that allows us to continue expanding our premium portfolio in ways that deliver distinctive consumer value propositions that include things like more flavor, different alcohol bases, and functional benefits.”

Dan White, chief of new revenue streams for Coca-Cola North America Operating Unit, added: “The Coca-Cola Co. and Constellation Brands have a shared passion for building some of the world’s most loved brands and for building best-in-class beverage experiences. Our new relationship with Constellation Brands is ideal due to their consumer-focused approach to brand building, expansive distribution network, and distilled distribution expertise. With the launch of FRESCA Mixed by Constellation, people will have an entirely new way to enjoy the taste of FRESCA, now mixed with real spirits.”

FRESCA Mixed is expected to launch this year, starting with cocktails using real spirits and inspired by recipes created by FRESCA fans from around the globe. The products will be produced and marketed by Constellation and distributed through Constellation’s three-tier distribution networks, leveraging the company’s consumer knowledge, brand-building capabilities, beverage alcohol expertise, and strong retail and trade relationships to secure national distribution, it says.