Coca-Cola CEO: 'Never say never' on getting into booze, but it 'doesn't make sense' right now

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James Quincey, CEO of Coca-Cola.

Coca-Cola will never say never on getting into the booze space, but it doesn't make sense right now, CEO James Quincey told On Events on Thursday.

Analysts have recently speculated whether Coke will dive into the booze category, whether through mixers or actual alcoholic drinks, in an effort to drive growth.

"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 said.

Soda taxes aren't an "existential" crisis to Coke, Quincey said, though he shared his doubt on their effect on solving the obesity crisis. As to what Coke can do, he said that includes its formulations, packages and information it shares on products.

"When we can take action, we absolutely have the responsibility to do so, but we believe that solving the obesity crisis, which does need to be solved, will require a much broader response from private companies and the government rather than thinking a narrow tax is going to solve it," he said.

Coca-Cola reaffirmed its full-year guidance ahead of Thursday's investor day, the company's first in eight years. Quincey took over in May after serving as Coke's chief operating officer.

Shares of Coke have gained 13 percent this year, a rare story in the consumer goods industry that has been hammered as eating and shopping trends change.


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