Marketed under the new brand, Mock Bar, the non-alcoholic sangria drink is made with a non-alcoholic wine extract, fruit juices (orange, mango, pear, pineapple), and spices (cinnamon, mint).
Aimed for a launch in June, Mercian targets to sell 360,000 bottles (250mL/bottle) this year.
The ready-to-drink sangria will be sold at supermarkets, convenience stores, and e-commerce platforms across Japan.
Yohei Nagaya, brand manager of Mock Bar, told FoodNavigator-Asia: “In our customer survey, many consumers, especially the younger generation, responded that they like to drink, but want to enjoy their time without getting drunk, and that they want to drink products that give them a special feeling, even if they are non-alcoholic,
“Among the wine categories, sangria is popular among young people because they have a high level of experience and intention to drink it, and because it is luxurious and delicious due to its high fruit juice content.”
Traditionally a beer and sake market, Mercian is hoping its non-alcoholic sangria drink can attract younger Japanese consumers in their 20s and 30s, who are also typically consumers of non-alcoholic beers and mocktail drinks.
The company plans to conduct promotions, including web and in-store campaigns, to increase consumer awareness which will eventually lead to increased purchasing power.
R&D for the Mock Bar range took 1.5 years, where the team produced more than 100 prototypes.
“It was not easy to create a non-alcoholic sangria with a rich fruit juice feel, but by adding wine extract and spices and herbs, we were finally able to create a mature and luxurious sangria,” Nagaya said.
Mercian utilised its winemaking and juice blending technologies with Kirin Beverage’s soft drink product develop technologies to develop Mock Bar.
The non-alcoholic wine extract is derived from wine that has been condensed and dealcoholized.
Manufacturing process of the non-alcoholic sangria is different from typical alcoholic sangria which requires fermentation. The former does not require fermentation, and is made by combining the wine extract, spices and fruits juices.
There are no plans to export Mock Bar at the moment.
Mercian previously launched a non-alcoholic sparkling wine called Mercian Sparkling Alcohol Zero.
This year, Mercian will continue to accelerate efforts to expand the market for casual sparkling and organic wines.
For its alcoholic range, sales volume of Mercian’s alcoholic sangria (brand: Gyu-Gyu-to-shibotta Sangria) in 2020 achieved 94% of the previous year.
Mercian reported revenues of JPY 62.1 billion (US$558 million) in FY20, lower than FY19’s JPY 63.9 billion (US$584 million).
Overall revenue for the company in FY20 was JPY 1.8 trillion (US$16 billion). This includes Kirin Brewery, Kirin Beverage, Lion, Kyowa Kirin, Kyowa Hakko Bio, Myanmar Brewery, Coke Northeast and Mercian.