Move over soda, there’s some new bottled (and canned) beverages that have consumers excited about buying beverages again, and one of them is beer, which isn’t a huge surprise. Another is water, but more on that later.

According to Forbes, Anheuser-Busch is the world’s largest brewer since its $100 billion-plus acquisition of SABMiller. The company reported $45.52 billion in revenue from 2016, which means it holds the #1 spot on our list. It’s worth noting that the most valuable beer brand in the world is none other than Budweiser. Following the beer giant in our list is The Coca-Cola Co. at $43.50 billion in revenue and PepsiCo in the 3rd spot with $30.14 in beverage sales. 

Based on the chart’s results, it may appear that beer, followed by soft drinks, is consumers’ favorite packaged beverage, but it actually isn’t. Americans are drinking more bottled water than any other packaged beverage – outselling carbonated soft drinks, by volume, for the first time in history, according to the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) and the Beverage Marketing Corporation (BMC).

As proof of that, Nestlé SA remains at the top of the list (this year in the 4th position) with $28.19 billion in revenue, in large due to its successful water brands including Perrier, Nestlé Pure Life, Ice Mountain and S. Pellegrino.

Bottled water has jumped ahead of soda and juice (and tea, coffee and beer) as America’s favorite bottled beverage. And that is a good thing as consumers place more emphasis on hydration and nutrition, saying no to drinks with countless grams of sugar and calories. Bottled water is highly portable, healthy, drinkable at any temperature and it’s something consumers can feel good about drinking. And with the plethora of options available – from sparkling to flavored, pH balanced, alkaline, and sourced from various exotic locations – there is still enough variety to make it exciting.

“Bottled water effectively reshaped the beverage marketplace,” says Michael C. Bellas, chairman and CEO, BMC. “When Perrier first entered the country in the 1970s, few would have predicted the heights to which bottled water would eventually climb. Where once it would have been unimaginable to see Americans walking down the street carrying plastic bottles of water, or driving around with them in their cars’ cup holders, now that’s the norm.”

A Harris Poll conducted for IBWA found 86% of people polled purchase bottled water.

“The bottled water industry is utilizing a variety of measures to continue reducing its environmental impact. Many bottled water companies are already using recycled plastic in their bottles. Some are already producing 100-percent recycled PET plastic bottled water containers,” says Joe Doss, IBWA president and CEO.
“Bottled water’s environmental footprint is the lowest of any packaged beverage, according to a life-cycle assessment conducted by Quantis.”

Branding still makes a big difference in getting chosen on shelf, and one bottled water is a hugely popular choice amongst bottled water drinkers. PepsiCo’s LIFEWTR, launched in February of this year, is purified water that is pH balanced with electrolytes added for taste. Released in a series of three and changing several times per year, LIFEWTR designs provide exposure for emerging artists and creatives from the worlds of graphic design, fashion, fine arts, photography and more. A new design series features abstract designs from female artists on its Series 2 bottle labels.

Series 2 focuses on elevating women in the arts while Series 1 features designs from emerging artists in the public art space. Launching on shelves now as Series 1 phases out, LIFEWTR Series 2 bottles showcase the works of bold artists who hail from the U.S. and United Kingdom. The LIFEWTR Series 2 bottles are now available in the U.S. in two sizes: 700ml and 1L.

So what other packaged beverage segment has consumers excited? Well, it’s beer and wine of course. You’ve seen the coverage right here over the last few months – the surge in craft beer and wine consumption, especially with millennials. Big brands (and small) have unveiled new and exciting flavors of craft beer in various packages like 12-ounce cans, 16-ounce cans, screw cap aluminum cans and glass bottles with high impact graphics that are sure to catch the eye. In wine, a lot of players are revealing their wares in cartons, pouches, bag-in-box and in small sizes that are meant for single-serving consumption. The popularity of wine amongst millennials means that there are countless opportunities for the segment to be more playful, and convenient for consumption (i.e. no more corkscrew required).

So cheers to the biggest and brightest brands that have us all swooning as we explore new flavors, sizes and package formats in the most popular drinks. Opportunities in bottled beverage are booming as more options and choices come along, and more consumers explore new ways to consume old favorites. 

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