The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Coke’s Georgia set to take Calcutta by storm

New Delhi, Nov. 12: Coca-Cola India is bringing hot cups of its Georgia brand mass market ready-to-drink tea to the city of tea guzzlers —Calcutta.

The tea, which will be sold through vending machines, will be launched by the end of this month. The company will cover about 20 per cent of the soft drink outlets in the city. Other channels will include grocery stores, bus stops, railway stations, canteens and offices.

A cup of standard Georgia hot tea will cost Rs 4 whereas the standard coffee will cost Rs 5. Flavours of tea comprising ginger, cardamom and masala will cost Rs 5. Georgia ready-to-drink coffees will be sold at Rs 10 per cup of cappucino or moccacino.

Coke also hopes to counter Calcutta’s famous “double-half” option at the local chai shop with its Rs 2 half-cup tea sachet.

The communication for the Calcutta campaign has kept the strong nexus between ‘adda’ and ‘tea’ that is unique to the city, said Gupta. “Calcutta is a very price sensitive market…if the prices are not right, they will burn your machine,” Gupta said in a lighter vein.

Earlier in the middle of the year, Coca-Cola had tied up with McDonald’s to introduce its premium ready-to-serve hot coffee and tea under Georgia Gold brand (prices varying between Rs 14 and 21 per cup).

“We think it is time to take the product from the class market to the mass market,” said Sanjeev Gupta, deputy president of Coca-Cola India. However, Gupta did not say how much the cola giant planned to invest in the project or the number of machines that would be put up.

The national roll out will be considered after three months, depending upon the outcome of the launches in the two cities, said Gupta. The Delhi launch will happen in the middle of November.

Gupta said total non-alcoholic commercial beverages market in India is 19.5 billion cases, out of which 70 per cent is tea and coffee and only 2 per cent is carbonated soft drinks. Further, 94 per cent of the tea/coffee market is for the hot form of the beverage, he said.

Coke intends to become a complete non-alcoholic beverage company. However, Gupta said that in five year’s time, about 60-70 per cent of the company would still be from soft drink sales. Coke has so far invested $ 805 million in the country, he said.

Georgia is part of Coca-Cola’s international brand which was launched in Japan 20 years back. In India, the tea for the pre mix formulation is being sourced from Indian suppliers whom the company refused to name.

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