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Coke and Constellation Brands Partner on Hard Fresca

Coca-Cola had launched hard seltzer Topo Chico in 2020.

Coca-Cola (KO)  is wading further into the hard world with an alcoholic version of the popular zero-calorie Fresca soft drink, a partnership with with Corona beer owner Constellation Brands ( (STZ) ). 

The Atlanta soft-drink giant later this year is releasing a lemon-flavored canned cocktail known as Fresca Mixed and line of other spirit-based hard cocktails.

The announcement follows Coca-Cola's launch of Topo Chico, a hard seltzer, in partnership with Molson Coors ( (TAP.A) ) in 2020. 

Neither Coca-Cola nor Constellation Brands, Victor, N.Y., has released Fresca Mixed imagery or specifics about the drink.

But the two companies said in a statement that the move comes as canned cocktails experience "a surge in popularity." 

Fresca, which is commonly used at college parties and open bars as mixer, was a natural progression.

"Adult Alternative Beverages, including ready-to-drink cocktails," represent "nearly an $8 billion segment projected to grow at a 15% to 17% [compounded annual growth rate] over the next three years, with trusted consumer brands commanding a significant share of the market," Constellation Brands said in a news release.

Financial terms also weren't disclosed. But the partnership is expected to boost Coca-Cola's efforts in a rapidly growing -- and sharply competitive -- space of to-go cocktails. 

In fall 2021, PepsiCo  (PEP)  launched a line of sugar-free hard seltzers known as "Hard Mtn Dew."

The agreement enables Constellation 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," Mallika Monteiro, the company's chief growth, strategy and digital officer, said in a statement.