Peru's golden-colored national drink--Inca Kola--is finding a home away from home in Japan.

The lightly carbonated beverage boasts a history of more than 80 years and has even rivaled the likes of Coca-Cola in the South American country.

This reporter wanted to see what all the excitement was about.

About 30 Japanese-Peruvians and Brazilians gathered at a cafe in Toyokawa, Aichi Prefecture, on a Sunday in mid-June for breakfast, Peruvian style.

Not only coffee, but also blue-labeled bottles of Inca-Kola were available at the event.

Miki Shimazaki, 10, who has Japanese-Peruvian and Japanese-Brazilian parents, said with a smile, "Inca Kola is easier to drink than Coca-Cola."

Harumi Fujiki, 44, who teaches students how to make Peruvian dishes, said: "The carbonation is not strong, which makes it easy to ingest. It has a fresh scent like lemon and is good to drink with meat dishes."

When this reporter tried the beverage, it tasted like "Ramune," a carbonated soft drink sold at fairs. It was refreshing!

G&C Corp., an importer of South American foods based in Kuwana, Mie Prefecture, imports Inca Kola from Peru. The company's president, Giuliano Castagnetto Uchizato, 42, founded the firm in 2006. At that time, he received many inquiries like, “Do you import Inca Kola?”

The company started importing the product in 2008, and sales have increased steadily. Now, Inca Kola occupies over the half of the 60 containers at 40 feet (about 12 meters) in length, which it imports in one year.

As the transaction volume has increased, it established a distribution warehouse in Minokamo, Gifu Prefecture, in July last year.

“It occupies a lot of space and doesn’t bring in much profits, but (I import it because) Inca Kola is a national drink,” Japanese-Peruvian Giuliano said with a smile.

According to information on the Coca-Cola Co. website, Inca Kola is a soft drink that was "born" in 1935.

U.S. media had reported that the drink was competing with Coca-Cola, from the United States, in the soft drink market in Peru. The popularity of Inca Kola never let up, and in 1999, Coca-Cola Co. purchased shares in the brand, opting for a strategy of coexistence. Naturally, Peruvians accepted it as a victory for Inca.

Giuliano, who is often asked by Japanese companies for hit products with a new taste, said about Inca Kola, "It's a little sweet, but it might be good to have at a barbecue or party."

One 300-milliliter bottle or one PET bottle (450 milliliters) is around 180 yen ($1.70) at retail.

People can buy it at South American food stores in Aichi Prefecture and other areas, such as Chiba, Kanagawa, Gunma, Osaka and Shizuoka prefectures. Some Don Quijote shops also sell the product.