ATLANTA -(Dow Jones)- Coca-Cola Co. (KO) is adding another drink to a growing list of beverages it sells in the U.S.: guarana.
The beverage giant plans to test market Kuat, a carbonated soft drink that is one of its biggest sellers in Brazil. The drink will be sold in 20-ounce bottles in Texas and Florida starting in mid-October, according to a Coke spokesman. There are no plans yet for a national launch, the spokesman said.
(This story and related background material will be available on The Wall Street Journal Web site, WSJ.com.)
A popular sweet drink in Brazil made from the extract of a red berry that grows in Venezuela and Northern Brazil and is high in caffeine, guarana originally got off to a slow start in the U.S. PepsiCo Inc. (PEP) introduced its own version of guarana, called Josta, in 1997 in the U.S., but discontinued it when it didn’t sell in large volume.
Guarana has gained popularity in the U.S. since then, along with other beverages that provide caffeine or energy boosts, such as energy drinks and sports drinks.
Named a sun god for an Amazon Indian tribe in Brazil, Kuat (pronounced “Kwatch”) has become one of the leading guarana beverages in Brazil, and Coke even introduced a diet version of the drink in Brazil in 1999. Coke also began marketing its guarana under another name, Senzao, in Mexico, earlier this year.
-By Betsy McKay, The Wall Street Journal; 404-865-4353