BUSINESS

Bastien Poulain Launches New Quebec-Inspired Cola, '1642'

03/03/2015 07:58 EST | Updated 05/04/2015 05:59 EDT
1642 Cola/Facebook
An entrepreneur who concocted a cola using materials from Quebec is hoping the city of Montreal will use the new drink during its 375th anniversary celebrations.

The creator of the cola, Bastien Poulain, isn’t a Montrealer by birth, but said he found inspiration from his new home.

“I was born in France but now in my heart, I feel totally like a Montrealer," he said

His soda uses exclusively Quebec ingredients. The sugar is Quebec beet sugar, there’s a subtle taste of maple syrup, and even the labels and bottles are made in Quebec.

In fact, the only part of the product that isn’t from Quebec is its bottle caps, which Poulain had to import from Greece.

Poulain said he’s approached the city regarding being part of the 375th anniversary, but said it’s too early to enter into a partnership right now.

Appealing to Quebecers

Playing into Quebec pride could help make the drink a commercial success in a very competitive cola market, according to a Concordia University marketing professor.

Jordan Lebel said the strategy of playing on patriotic heart strings works very well, particularly in Quebec.

In the 80s, Coca-Cola was outselling Pepsi in Quebec. But then the company hired Quebec comedian Claude Meunier to do an advertisement — which saw Pepsi sales skyrocket in the province. Even today, Pepsi outsells Coke in Quebec.

"David against Goliath" situation

Poulain has sold 8,000 bottles since the product was released in November 2014. That’s more than he expected, given the tight grip cola giants have on the market.

“It’s a little David against Goliath," he said.

Poulain said he’d like to create a niche in the market rather than try to overtake Coke and Pepsi.

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