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Report: Coke, Pepsi faceoff brewing
Coke's No. 2 bottler will distribute cans of Cinnabon coffee, to drink from Pepsi's market share.
December 6, 2005: 9:49 AM EST

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - Coke has brewed up a plan to take on Pepsi and Starbucks in the ready-to-drink coffee market, according to a report Tuesday.

Charlotte-based Coca-Cola Consolidated (Research) announced that it is distributing cans of Cinnabon coffee, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution said.

Pepsi (Research) struck a deal with Starbucks (Research) in 1994 to make canned and bottled coffee drinks. Now, cans of DoubleShot and bottles of Frappuccino make up more than 80 percent of ready-to-drink coffee in the U.S., according to the newspaper, which cited Beverage Digest.

Coca-Cola (Research) has yet to brew a successful brand to compete.

Coke is expected to announce a carbonated coffee-cola drink next year called Coca-Cola Blak. Other coffee drinks may also be in the works, the newspaper said.

"The ready-to-drink coffee category is a good one to be in and fast-growing," Consolidated spokesman Lauren Steele told the newspaper.

"Starbucks has had the field to themselves and now they are going to have competition."

The Cinnabon drink brands are owned by a New York-based drink company, Brain-Twist, which has a licensing deal with Atlanta-based Cinnabon, according to the newspaper. There are three flavors: cinnamon vanilla latte, caramel nut latte, and espresso and cream.

Brain-Twist founder Larry Trachtenbroit said he is not currently negotiating with Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Enterprises (Research) or any other Coke bottlers, the newspaper said.

CCE handles 77 percent of Coke's soft drinks in the United States; Consolidated has a 7 percent share.

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