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New Beverage Brands for a New Era

Coca-Cola taps into “Aha” moments for seltzer lovers as thirst for sugar- and calorie-free drinks surges.
Photograph courtesy of Coca-Cola

Inspired by the tenet that variety is the spice of life, Coca-Cola North America is on track to add more sparkle, flavor, fizz, healthy hydration—and even a little caffeinated pick-me-up—to its evolving beverage portfolio.

A leading player in the Atlanta-based beverage brand’s new lineup is the launch of a new sparkling water brand, Aha. Boasting what company officials called unexpected yet accessible flavor pairings and vibrant packaging, the new brand is destined to meet evolving consumer demands and “cut through a crowded category that continues to grow at double-digit rates. As the largest and fastest-growing part of the water business, mainstream flavored sparkling water is a segment we know we must double down on,” according to Celina Li, VP of water for Coca-Cola North America. “Aha is our big-bet brand in this big-bet category.”

The eight-line, calorie- and sodium-free Aha—available in Lime + Watermelon, Strawberry + Cucumber, Citrus + Green Tea, Black Cherry + Coffee, Orange + Grapefruit, Apple + Ginger, Blueberry + Pomegranate and Peach + Honey—will hit stores this month in multipacks of 12-ounce cans and in 16-ounce individual cans.

Aha will replace Dasani Sparkling at retail, which has been on the market since 2014. It marks the first major brand launch in a decade for Coca-Cola North America. Aha joins Coke’s sparkling water portfolio alongside Smartwater Sparkling, an enhanced premium offering, and Topo Chico, a fast-growing sparkling mineral water sourced from Mexico.

Julie Siwemuke, sparkling water director for Coca-Cola North America, says there “are unmet needs for consumers in the category today, both for those who don’t drink sparkling water regularly today and for those who do. When shoppers browse the sparkling water aisle, they’re looking for interesting and approachable flavors that offer a refreshing treat. They’re also drawn to fun, colorful brands with personality.” Citing partner feedback, which informed her team they don’t need another lime- or berry-flavored sparkling water but instead need “something fresh and new that can help grow the category, Siwemuke adds, “Retailers truly believe in the future of sparkling water and are looking to Coca-Cola to lead.”

A Water for Everyone

Coca-Cola is taking other steps to drive growth in multiple segments within the water category, including with Smartwater, which is launching new flavor pairings such as Cucumber-Lime, Strawberry-Blackberry, Watermelon-Mint and Pineapple-Kiwi, sans bubbles. The premium water brand’s new flavors offer hydration solutions for every wellness occasion: sparkling, pH-balanced, alkaline, antioxidant-infused and natural-flavor-infused.

Energy Infusion

This year also marks the debut of Coca-Cola Energy, which packs the familiar taste of Coke with 114 milligrams of caffeine, guarana extracts and B vitamins. The four-flavor lineup, available in 12-ounce sleek cans, includes Coca-Cola Energy, Coca-Cola Energy Zero Sugar, Coca-Cola Energy Cherry and Coca-Cola Energy Cherry Zero Sugar.

Coca-Cola’s Powerade is also expanding its product platforms for the first time in over a decade with two new zero-sugar innovations that offer functional hydration solutions, plus a new packaging design inspired by its proprietary Powerade Ion4 advanced electrolyte system. Powerade Ultra also marks a breakthrough innovation for the sports drink category that includes creatine; branched-chain amino acids; vitamins B3, B6 and B12; and 50% more Ion4 electrolytes vs. the original formulation. The also-new Powerade Power Water has Ion4 electrolytes and is enhanced with B vitamins.

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