Looks like Coca-Cola has met its commitment to further augment its lineup of RTD coffee by Q1: co has just begun to ship to initial retail accounts a pair of Gold Peak-branded cold-brew sku’s, in keeping with launch target KO promised last Sep. Coke rep confirmed that Gold Peak, hitherto strictly a tea brand on RTD side, is starting its foray into coffee with pair of cold-brewed flavors: Salted Caramel and Almond Toffee, in keeping with promise late last summer by Tea & Coffee vp Geoff Henry to offer “tasty” array using real cream and real sugar, as labels attest. Packed in 14-oz bottles, Gold Peak Coffee entries are positioned as delivering “cold brew, smooth taste,” at 270 calories per bottle. In response to inquiry placed Fri, Coke rep said new RTD entries have only begun to hit select accounts this past week, with presence continuing to expand thru May. He said co hopes to offer further details in a week or so. No word so far on tea lattes that also have been on new-product slate for Gold Peak, which has taken lead role on tea as longtime Coca-Cola/Nestle partnership around Nestea brand eroded and ultimately was dissolved in N Amer. Until now, Gold Peak’s only presence in coffee was in foodservice and via whole-bean offering at grocery.
The launch continues efforts by longtime RTD coffee laggard Coca-Cola to make headway vs dominant Pepsi/Starbucks alliance, after decade-long RTD effort behind Italy’s respected Illy brand has failed to yield more than a niche player. Illy remains in mix, but in recent weeks licensed Dunkin’ Donuts entry has begun hitting stores, both Dunkin’s own and general grocers, with down-the-middle recipes that have sometimes drawn raves on social media from Dunkin’ fans (BBI, Jan 31). Still in the queue: a glass-bottle artisanal entry from partner Monster Beverage called Monster Caffe line, held up so far by broad capacity squeeze on retort production capacity that has also left lotsa Java Monster sales on table and kept rival marketers from expanding their own dairy-based bev lines.