Coca-Cola on Monday launched its first ever alcoholic drink in Japan a fizzy, lemon-flavoured concoction laced with spirits that seeks to capitalize on the growing popularity of “chuhai” alcopops enjoyed especially by young women – in a bid to acquire new markets and consumers.

It is understood that the three fizzy lemon drinks went on sale on Monday and is available in the southern Kyushu region of Japan.

Described by Coca-Cola as “unique” in the company’s 125-year history, the three drinks range from 3% to 8% alcohol.

In keeping with the company’s tradition, the recipe is closely guarded but the drinks are modelled on the country’s popular Chu-Hi drinks, usually a mix of local spirit and a range of fruit flavours.

A 350-millilitre can sells for 150 yen ($1.40).

“This is a pilot project in the region which has a sizable market,” Masaki Iida, spokesman for Coca-Cola’s Japanese unit, told AFP.

He declined to reveal the exact spirit in the drink, as the recipe is a closely guarded secret.

Coca Cola product developers got the idea after visiting Japanese-style “izakaya” pubs, where they discovered that lemon-flavoured drinks are very popular, according to the firm’s website.

The popular “chuhai” drinks — which contain vodka or a distilled, grain-based spirit called “shochu” — come in a range of flavours such as grape, strawberry, kiwi and white peach.

They range in strength from between three and nine percent and are particularly popular with young drinkers, especially women.

Coca-Cola is wading into an already competitive market, where major Japanese companies such as Suntory, Kirin and Asahi dominate the shelves.