• PepsiCo is focused “100%” on its strategy in energy drinks, CEO Ramon Laguarta said on the company’s earnings call Thursday in response to a question about whether it would follow Coca-Cola into hard seltzer.
  • Laguarta indicated that hard seltzer is one of “a lot of opportunities in front of us,” and that energy drinks offer more long-term potential while hard seltzer could be a shorter-lived trend.
  • The comments show how PepsiCo and rival Coca-Cola are taking different paths during the pandemic, capitalizing on two distinct categories that have both been in-demand.
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Pepsi and Coke spent years fighting each other over cola. Lately, though, the two have been taking different paths when it comes to selling beverages to pandemic-weary consumers.

Coca-Cola jumped into hard seltzer on Tuesday, announcing a partnership with Molson Coors that will bring an alcoholic version of its Topo Chico hard seltzer to the US in 2021. But PepsiCo doesn’t have any plans to follow suit, CEO Ramon Laguarta said Thursday during an earnings call.

Instead, PepsiCo is devoting its “100% focus” to its plan for energy drinks, he said in response when an analyst asked him whether PepsiCo would also break into hard seltzer.

Laguarta pointed to PepsiCo’s work on energy drinks, including its acquisition of Rockstar, a distribution agreement with Bang Energy, both of which it announced earlier this year and is still integrating into its business. Those, along with its Mountain Dew- and Starbucks-branded beverages, are a top emerging category for the company, he said.

“Those four big pillars, that’s taking a lot of our focus, and that’s going to be our priority, especially in 2021,” he said.

PepsiCo’s focus on energy drinks during the pandemic marks a different path from Coca-Cola, though both categories have been growing