Coca-Cola launches its biggest new drink in 10 years

Finally, Coca-Cola (KO) is getting serious about fizz without the sugar. Aka, seltzer. Aka sparkling water.

And in doing so, it could bring a much needed jolt to Coke’s overall water business.

Coca-Cola said Thursday it will launch a new seltzer brand dubbed “AHA” in March 2020, which the beverage giant claims is its biggest new product release in a decade. AHA will come in eight flavors, including two (Citrus Green Tea and Black Cherry + Coffee) with 30 mg of caffeine that take early aim at popular caffeinated seltzer Hi-Ball from Anheuser Busch. The line will also look to gain market share from PepsiCo’s surging Bubly line — a brand it too started from scratch back in 2018.

AHA will replace Coke’s Dasani sparkling water.

“As the largest and fastest growing part of the category, mainstream flavored sparkling water is a segment we know we must double-down on,” said Celina Li, vice president of water category at Coca-Cola North America. “AHA is our big-bet brand in this big-bet category.”

Coke added it will introduce new still water flavors to its Smartwater line in 2020, too.

The water overhaul is welcome news for investors.

Coke gets big into seltzer.

Unit case volume — a key performance measure for beverage companies — in Coke’s North America water, enhanced water and sports drink business only rose 1% in the third quarter. The overall business, which Coke refers to as “hydration” and also includes VitaminWater and Powerade, has seen volume relatively flat for the nine months ended September 27.

For perspective, unit volume for trademark Coke products rose a solid 2% in the third quarter. Over at Coke rival PepsiCo (PEP), sales of bottled waters such as LIFEWTR and Propel surged by double-digits in the third quarter.

Sales of Coke’s water business have been flat this year, according to data from Nielsen. The total bottled water business in the U.S. (still and sparkling) is up about 5% to $12.8 billion, per Nielsen.

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15 Unusual Uses For Coca-Cola
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15 Unusual Uses For Coca-Cola

Pain Reducer

Pouring Coca-Cola on bug bites, bee stings or jellyfish stings helps to neutralize the pain.

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Gum Remover

Got gum stuck on your shoe? Leave Coke on the gum for a few minutes, and then scrape it off with a blunt knife. This trick can be used on hair, shoes or clothes.

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Insecticide

Farmers in India frequently use Coca Cola as an insecticide to keep their crops free of bugs.

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Window Cleaner

It's easy to remove bugs and dust from your car window with a can of Coke and a wet cloth. You can pour the soda on to a cloth and wash your windshield with it. Then, rinse it off with your windshield wipers.

Image Credit: Getty Images

Rust Remover

Coca-Cola can remove rust from small objects overnight! If you want to shine your pennies, you can leave them in a glass of Coke overnight and scrub them off in the morning. Coke can even help to remove the rust from a chrome finish.

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Odor Remover

Coke helps to remove the awful smell of skunk. If your pet is affected by the smell, you can wash the animal off with Coke (and then of course, rinse your pet off well).

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Paint Remover

If you want to get paint off of metal furniture, just leave a Coke-drenched towel on the surface for a few days. Make sure to keep the towel moist with the soda.

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Remove Black From Pots

You can use Coke to get rid of the black film on your pots. Just add a can of Coke to the pot and put the stove on low heat. After an hour, wash the pot normally and the black should come off.

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Toilet Cleaner

The phosphoric acid in Coke can help to break down all the lime scum and buildup in a toilet. This is a great method if you don't have any regular toilet cleaner on hand.

Image Credit: Getty Images

Stain Remover

It may seem counterintuitive, but if you've got tough grease stains on your clothes, add a can of coke to the wash along with your detergent and let the machine run through a normal cycle. This is also a good method to remove blood, as well as get the odors out of particularly smelly clothes.

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Helps Stomach Pain

Coca-Cola can help to relieve nausea or an upset stomach too. Try slowly drinking a glass of flat Coke. According to The Daily Mail, some doctors even prescribe Coke to patients who have the painful condition called gastric phytobezoar.

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Windshield Defroster

If you're in a bind during the cold winter months — a very cold bind — defrost your windshield with Coke.

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Hiccup Cure

Hiccups that just won't go away? One way you can try to cure those hiccups is to hold your breath, and then drink a glass of Coca-Cola quickly.

Image Credit: Getty Images

Loosen Bolts

If you're struggling with tight, rusty bolts, use Coke, a soft cloth and a small bowl to fix them. Just pour the Coke on a cloth and let it soak on the bolt, which should help to loosen it.

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Improve Lawn

Coke can actually be a great fertilizer for gardenia and azalea flowers. It can even help to improve the quality of compost.

Image Credit: Getty Images

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Nielsen data estimates Coke has about a 14% market share of the U.S. water business. Coke’s water business sports the second highest gross profit margin in its beverage portfolio, behind sparkling beverages and ahead of coffee and tea, according to data from Coke. The business in North America is its third largest as a percentage of revenue behind sparkling beverages and juice, dairy and plant-based drinks.

Coke gets high marks on finally pulling the trigger on a water business overhaul — it’s very likely to add a new layer of growth in 2020. AHA’s cans look cool as well, they should stick out on crowded seltzer shelves. I’m not 100% sold on the name, but hey — it’s what is in the can that counts the most.

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and co-anchor of The First Trade at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @BrianSozzi

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