Keurig Green Mountain launches the highly anticipated Keurig® KOLD™ drinkmaking system in the US this week. The countertop appliance, developed through a global strategic partnership with The Coca-Cola Company, lets consumers produce a variety of sparkling and still drinks with a single push of a button.

The new Keurig KOLD system will be available to order on Keurig.com starting tomorrow and will be sold at select retailers online and in six US cities in October: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles and New York. Keurig KOLD initially will feature many brands, including Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Coke Zero, Sprite and Fanta. In the months ahead, more selections from Keurig Green Mountain and The Coca-Cola Company will be added in multiple categories, including sparkling, tea, energy, mixers, enhanced waters and sports drinks.

We spoke with Deryck van Rensburg, president of Coca-Cola/Keurig Ventures, to learn more about the potential Coke sees in the groundbreaking platform.

What inspired Coke to pursue a partnership with Keurig on the KOLD platform?

We'd been monitoring the growing trends of at-home, self-manufacture of drinks – from smoothies, to juices, to coffees and teas. We saw that consumers liked the idea of personalising cold drinks at their leisure. They want to monitor portion sizes and take more control of what they consume at home. And with our busy lives, many of us are not always able to stop at the market. We believe the Keurig KOLD system is game-changing because it delivers unique technology and consumer benefits. People are looking for choice, customisation and the satisfaction, engagement and fun that comes from making drinks on their own, often at home.

Why does the partnership between Keurig and Coca-Cola make sense?

By pairing our brand leadership and global footprint with Keurig’s cutting-edge technology and drink system expertise, together we will capitalise on the growth opportunities in the single-serve, pod-based segment of the cold drinks industry. This partnership combines what we’re good at with what they’re good at with no obvious overlap. Strategically, it supports our goal of identifying and staying at the forefront of consumer trends… in this case, growing consumer demand for drink variety and innovation.

Keurig, at its core, is a technology company. Partnering with a company we know will consistently invest in next-generation technology breakthroughs in this space makes a lot of sense. We look forward to being in the front seat with Keurig, learning with them and contributing to the potential of the opportunity.

Which brands from The Coca-Cola Company’s portfolio will be available on the Keurig KOLD platform at launch?

Initially, Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Coke Zero, Sprite and Fanta will be available. Within a few months, we plan to roll out Coca-Cola Life, and then continue to add more brands in multiple categories, including sparkling, tea, energy, enhanced waters and sports drinks. Choices will include no- and low-calorie, as well as caffeine-free drinks.

Why not just license your brands to Keurig for use on the platform?

From the beginning, we knew we wanted to do more than put our brands on the KOLD platform. We want to help build a truly strategic platform with global potential. Keurig’s level of familiarity with the industry and pod-based technology – and the close working relationship we enjoy through a strategic partnership – give us a competitive advantage which a license agreement would not provide.

Deryck van Rensburg

Are you concerned that delivering Coca-Cola brands on the Keurig KOLD platform will cannibalise current offerings?

No. If you think about the evolution of our business, we started out with the retailer serving our drinks to the consumer... first at a soda fountain in a pharmacy in 1886. Then, in 1899, two gentlemen secured the rights to bottle Coca-Cola, kicking off the era of mass production and distribution and creating the global franchise system. Within 10 years, there were more than 400 bottling plants in operation. We continued with the introduction of the first automated fountain machine in 1933. And in 2009, we unveiled Coca-Cola Freestyle, a fountain machine capable of dispensing more than 100 drinks. The introduction of Keurig KOLD begins the era of at-home production.

What’s interesting is that each new chapter of this story doesn’t replace the prior chapter. Our bottle/can business did not threaten our fountain business; it delivered incremental growth to the company. We see the same incremental consumption opportunity with Keurig KOLD, which will let consumers enjoy our drinks in an entirely new way.

Jay Moye is editor-in-chief of Coca-Cola Journey.