Japanese drink titan Suntory is hoping to debut its range of canned cocktails in North America due to declining alcohol consumption in Japan.
As Japanese youth have slowed down their drinking in recent years, Suntory – which owns Jim Beam whiskey maker Beam Inc. – has hoped to find more fertile markets internationally.
Last year, they debuted their strong, lemon-flavored cocktail Strong Zero in Australia, where it quickly became a hit.
The success in Australia has made the alcohol conglomerate optimistic about markets in the United States and U.K.
"Australia is a very important test market for the global strategy," said Suntory senior general manager Makoto Kitaura, according to Reuters.
He continued, "If we have a success in Australia, then other Western countries like the U.S., the U.K. may have an interest to try a new brand. And we can see huge growth potential with the U.S. market."
Suntory chose to alter Strong Zero, a ubiquitous drink in Japan, to make it more palatable for foreign markets.
Most notably, the famously intense 9% alcohol content was reduced to 6%. The name was also changed to "-196 Double Lemon."
Ready-to-drink cocktails are one of the most rapidly expanding sections of the alcohol market.
In the U.S., hard seltzers have gained major ground among younger generations, making adoption of the Japanese canned cocktail a more viable sell than in previous years.