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Coca-Cola will be livid about Sainsbury Cola's announcement today that it will sponsor British basketball.

Top management in Atlanta are so annoyed by the recent success of upstart colas they have appointed a crack team of senior executives to wallop the own-label competition.

Sources say Roberto Goizueta, chairman and chief executive of Coca-Cola, has focused the teams' assault on Cott, the drinks manufacturer behind Virgin, Safeway and Tesco colas.

Simon Lester, the managing director of Cott Corporation UK, remains unintimidated. He flew to Cott's headquarters in Toronto, Canada, yesterday to present annual figures to the parent and he promises to return with some surprises.

He would not deny that Virgin will in March launch something called Sheer Virgin Energy, but did confirm that more retailers are set to launch their own cola brands. His pet project, "a new form of branded launch with a twist", will hit the headlines next month, he says.