Soda’s alcohol drinks worry health experts

Regulators and public health experts are concerned that the new class of alcoholic drinks, ready-to-drink beverages and the expanding industry could alter how people buy and drink alcohol. In a major shift, PepsiCo and Coca-Cola have debuted alcoholic products in the U.S. market. By licensing its soft drink brands to established alcohol makers for sale through existing distributors, Coca-Cola kept within the lanes of the regulatory firewalls that separate alcohol producers, distributors and retailers. This three-tier system has characterized the U.S. alcohol industry since the repeal of Prohibition and is intended to prevent a single company from vertically integrating and suppressing its competitors. PepsiCo has attached fewer brands to new alcoholic drinks but has shown greater willingness to disrupt the status quo.