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Coca-Cola looks to expand new craft brands, booze mixers

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    A cap on a bottle of Coca-Cola in Philadelphia in 2011.

NEW YORK >> Coca-Cola, looking to adapt to people’s changing tastes, wants to expand new and smaller brands, including drinks that can be mixed with alcohol.

The company said Wednesday that more people want to sip on beverages made in small batches, instead of mass-produced sodas. Knowing that, Coca-Cola recently bought Mexican sparkling water brand Topo Chico, which it said has a strong following in Texas. It said it will look to develop other smaller brands, such as its Blue Sky soda, which is made with cane sugar instead of high-fructose corn syrup.

Alcohol mixers are also becoming more popular around the world, said CEO James Quincey, and the company launched a mixer in Spain called Royal Bliss this year as well as a new line in the U.K.

“More consumers seek unique and distinct products with sophisticated flavors, quality ingredients and smaller-scale production,” said Quincey.

The Atlanta-based company said the U.S. launch of Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, a reformulated replacement for Coca-Cola Zero, was successful. Overall sales volume of its bubbly soft drinks during the most recent quarter was flat in North America, the company’s biggest market. Sales volume of Sprite, bottled tea and bottled coffee grew, while its various waters fell.

Coca-Cola reported better-than-expected earnings and revenue for the third quarter.

It posted net income of $1.45 billion, or 33 cents per share, in the three months ending Sept. 29. That’s up from the $1.05 billion, or 24 cents per share, in reported in the same quarter a year ago.

Adjusted earnings came to 50 cents per share, a penny above what analysts were expecting, according to Zacks Investment Research.

Revenue fell 15 percent $9.08 billion in the period, beating the $8.84 billion analysts expected. The company said much of the revenue drop has to do with its plans to sell off its bottling business, which means less revenue for the company as it focuses on selling syrups and concentrates of its drinks to bottlers.

Shares of Coca-Cola Co. which are up 11 percent so far this year, slipped 13 cents to $46.05 today.

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