Coca-Cola CEO: ‘never say never’ to getting into alcohol

After an analyst speculated that Coca-Cola may announce a move into the alcohol industry, CEO James Quincey said he would not rule it out, but that “it doesn’t make sense” to do it now.

Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey.

Speaking to CNBC, Quincey responded to the speculation by a Wells Fargo analyst ahead of Coca-Cola’s investor day in Atlanta yesterday.

When asked about a possible move into alcohol, he said: “Philosophically, I never say never about most things, but the way I look at it, there’s just so much more we already have strength and capability in, it just doesn’t make sense to do that next.

“It makes more sense to do things that are more synergistic with your consumers and your capabilities as a company and a system,” Quincey told CNBC’s ‘Squawk on the Street’.

One of Coca-Cola’s anchor bottlers, Coca-Cola Amatil (CCA), which operates in the Asia-Pacific region and in which Coca-Cola owns a 29% stake, has already invested in the alcohol industry.

Last month it bought Australian craft brewer Feral Brewing while it also owns Yenda craft beer and Pressman’s cider. Yenda is brewed by Australian Beer Company, which is jointly owned by CCA and Casella Family Brands.

In partnership with Molson Coors, CCA brews and distributes Coors Light and Blue Moon.

In addition, the company both sells and distributes a number of other leading alcohol drinks brands including Bowmore, Canadian Club, Jim Beam, Laphroaig, Magner’s cider and Sipsmith gin.

However, with regard to Coca-Cola itself, although innovation will continue to form a part of its strategy, it won’t be venturing into booze, at least for now.

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