In this article we are going to list the 15 largest beverage companies in the world. Click to skip ahead and jump to the 5 largest beverage companies in the world.
A beverage company is a company that produces drinks, but they have to be other than water. The word beverage itself is derived form the French word 'bevrage', so basically we just removed an 'E' there. The French word itself is derived from Latin, which of course means 'to drink'. That is why you won't see companies who only produce bottled water, even if their owner is the richest man in China with a net worth of over $58 billion. Zhong Shansan, who is now the second richest man in Asia after Indian Mukesh Ambani, thanks to his company Nongfu Spring, which had revenues of $3.4 billion in 2019 alone. However, since its portfolio is completely dominated by bottled water, it was not selected in our list.
While you might think of beverage companies as not being a big deal, the aforementioned example should be evidence enough that there is a lot of money in water and beverages. After all, a lot of the companies on our list provide employment to hundreds of thousands, and cumulatively to millions of people and are hence, responsible for the livelihoods and economy of many towns, especially where the major production plants are present. In fact, you might be surprised to know that the global beverage industry is worth around $1,550 billion in 2018. That is an amazing 1.5 trillion dollars! It is further estimated that if the market continues to grow at this pace, it will reach a value of $1,961 billion in 2024.
So why is the industry going at such a strong pace year on year? Well it comes down to multiple factors but some of the primary reasons are higher disposable income, faster urbanization and a change in lifestyles. This is also one of the reasons why there is high obesity in many countries across the world, as carbonated drinks and juices containing a high concentration of sugar have become the way of life, and indulging in them daily rather than occasionally has become the primary pattern of consumption. On the other hand, beverages containing electrolytes are also being manufactured to cater to the complete opposite spectrum, athletes and fitness enthusiasts to replenish what they burn or lose during exercising or working out. The beverage industry can also be divided into two categories, i.e. alcoholic and non alcoholic. While many companies only produce one or the other, some engage in the production of both as well. If expensive alcohol is your thing, you might want to take a look at the 10 most expensive liquors in the world. Other health drinks include CBD infused sparkling water as well as plant-based milk beverages. These are being manufactured for a new generation which is very health conscious and very particular over its consumption habits.
The best part of the beverage industry is the fact that it isn't stagnating or just rumbling along. It is an exciting industry with myriad opportunities and products. After all, how often do you go to stores and find some simply unbelievable flavors. This is because there is a lot of innovation in this industry. Even now, you can see cold brew coffee and hard seltzer, which weren't really products that were quite common, but are now often dominating the market. Hence, there is an opportunity for anyone to come up with their ideas and implement them and carve a niche in what is a huge global industry stretching across all corners of the world.
The Covid-19 pandemic has affected all industries across the world, and the beverage industries is no exception. In a global supply chain, if even one part is affected, the remaining supply chain gets affected which impacts the fulfilment of orders. However, as more and more people are staying home, the demand for beverages has increased as well, which has helped stabilize the industry somewhat, especially as instead of drinking in bars, people are drinking at home now.
Determining the list of beverages wasn't an easy task by any means. Many companies don't engage in just beverages, but in other food production as well and it can get close to impossible to bifurcate between them. On the other hand, we did exclude non beverage items where it was possible. For example, Nestle's financial statements show that it breaks its operating segments into geographic regions as well as Nestle Water, which allowed us to exclude the latter. On the other hand, for LMVH, we were able to separate its wine and spirits business from its overall business as well. Of course, this is only possible for breaking up revenue and not the market cap of the business, which in addition to revenue provides two of the most integral metrics for finding out the biggest beverage companies in the world. Since we also considered total revenue in addition to the market cap in our ranking criteria, The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) isn't the #1 beverage company in the world. It isn't even #2.
So let's take a look at the companies whose products are more likely than not, probably in your fridge right now, starting with number 15:
15. Keurig Dr. Pepper (NASDAQ:KDP)
Market capitalization in 2019 (in billions of dollars): 40.68
Total revenue for 2019 (in billions of dollars): 11.1
Founded in 1981, 39 years ago, Keurig Dr. Pepper was famous for selling multiple beverages including coffee. In 2018, a major deal led to the acquisition of the Dr Pepper Snapple Group in a deal worth over $18.7 billion. Dr Pepper is one of the biggest and most popular drinks in the country, and that has ensured a high level of revenue for the company itself.
14. Wuliangye Yibin (SZSE: 000858)
Market capitalization in 2019 (in billions of dollars): 70.61
Total revenue for 2019 (in billions of dollars): 7.53
Everyone loves alcohol, and the biggest alcohol companies in the world are taking full advantage of the fact. The company was founded in 1998 and is famous for baiju, which is a famous Chinese colorless liquor. The company also has several major subsidiaries and provides its products both domestically and internationally.
Copyright: panama7 / 123RF Stock Photo
13. Pernod Ricard (Euronext: RI)
Market capitalization in 2019 (in billions of dollars): 47.44
Total revenue for 2019 (in billions of dollars): 10.76
Get ready for a deluge of alcoholic beverage companies, as alcohol sells, evidenced by Pernod Ricard, a French company producing alcoholic beverages. Funnily enough, the top two products of the company are Pernod and Ricard, which are spirits. It has attracted controversy for being a major bullfighting funder, though it claimed to have stopped this in the current year. Let's see if it lasts.
11. LVMH (Euronext Paris: MC)
Market capitalization in 2019 (in billions of dollars): 237.81
Total revenue for 2019 (in billions of dollars): 5.57
You might be quite surprised to see LVMH, which is more famous for its luxury designer brands, but it also engages in the production of spirits and wines which is one of the six branches operated by the company, and in fact is actually quite a lucrative venue for the company.
Maen Zayyad / Shutterstock.com
10. Danone (Euronext Paris: BN)
Market capitalization in 2019 (in billions of dollars): 53.72
Total revenue for 2019 (in billions of dollars): 29.64
Danone may be over a hundred years old, but this company shows no signs of slowing down, with products in at least 120 countries across the world. Danone is one of many controversial giants and has faced criticism over its marketing campaigns in many countries, which have been called quite unethical.
9. Mondelez International (NASDAQ: MDLZ)
Market capitalization in 2019 (in billions of dollars): 80.52
Total revenue for 2019 (in billions of dollars): 25.9
Mondelez is one of the most well known food and beverages company in the entire world, and has some of the most popular global brands as well, some of which may very well be in your pantry right now, which include Oreo, Ritz, TUC, LU, Cadbury and Toblerone. The company has grown both organically as well as through acquisitions.
8. Diageo (NYSE:DEO)
Market capitalization in 2019 (in billions of dollars): 103.6
Total revenue for 2019 (in billions of dollars): 16.7
Diageo is a British alcohol company which has a presence in over 180 countries and has more than 140 production sites as well. The company was founded 23 years in 1997 and is headquartered in London. Even though it has sold off several off its brands through the years, it has also carried out a lot of acquisitions, which is why it is one of the biggest alcoholic companies out there.
7. Kweichow Moutai (SSE: 600519)
Market capitalization in 2019 (in billions of dollars): 190.82
Total revenue for 2019 (in billions of dollars): 12.84
Another Chinese company makes our list, in the world's largest distiller and at one time was even the world's most valuable liquor company in 2017. It is unique in that it is one of the very few Chinese companies to have a share value greater than CNY100.
6. Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX)
Market capitalization in 2019 (in billions of dollars): 107.01
Total revenue for 2019 (in billions of dollars): 26.51
The company may have been in the news recently because its ex-CEO Howard Schultz, who was responsible for the company becoming a global icon, announced a doomed run for President in 2020, but there's no denying that this chain of coffeehouses and roastery reserves is one of the biggest beverage companies out there.