Despite the impact of Covid-19 pandemic, the beverage industry giants such as Nestle and Starbucks Corporation are going hand in hand for their continued global expansion.

From AB InBev to Asahi Group Holdings, Drinks Insight Network lists the top ten beverage companies in 2020, based on 2019 revenues, and details the Covid-19 impact on their operations.

Biggest drinks companies: Top ten by revenue

  1. Anheuser-Busch InBev- $52.3bn
  2. The Coca Cola Company- $37.3bn
  3. Nestle-$31.5bn
  4. Pepsico- $30.8bn
  5. Starbucks Corporation- $26.9bn
  6. Heineken- $26.7bn
  7. Fomento Economico Mexicano-$26.7bn
  8. Suntory Holdings- $23.5bn
  9. Diageo-$16.8bn
  10. Asahi Group Holdings-$11.5bn

1. Anheuser-Busch InBev – $52.3bn

Top ten drinks companies in 2020
AB InBev earned a total revenue of $52.3bn in 2019. Credit: Anheuser-Busch InBev.

Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) is the world’s biggest brewing company with total revenue of $52.3bn in 2019. Its revenues grew by 4.3% compared with the previous year.

The total production volume of the company was 561.4 million hectolitres (Mhl) in 2019. With more than 80 offerings to cater to different occasions, the no-alcohol and low- alcohol beer (NABLAB) of the company accounted for approximately 7.0% of its global beer volume in 2019.

The global brands of the company Budweiser®, Corona®, and Stella Artois® delivered strong revenue growth of 8% outside their home markets in the US, Mexico and Belgium, respectively.

The Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, however, impacted the global brands and the total revenue of the company. AB InBev’s revenue declined by 12% in the first half of 2020 compared to the corresponding period in 2019.

Headquartered in Belgium, AB InBev operates 260 breweries. The company has a workforce of approximately 170,000 and presence in more than 50 countries worldwide.

2. The Coca-Cola Company – $37.3bn

Top ten drinks companies in 2020
The retail value of Coca Cola in sparkling soft drinks segment increased by 6% worldwide in 2019. Credit: The Coca Cola Company.

The Coca-Cola Company reported $37.3bn in revenues in 2019, an increase of 9% compared to the previous year.

The increasing portfolio of the company with contribution from both sparkling and non-sparkling offerings led to its revenue growth.

In sparkling segment, the retail value of Coca-Cola increased by 6% globally, attributed to its innovative offerings such as Coca-Cola Plus Coffee.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the company’s net revenues declined by 9% in the third quarter of 2020. However, the business saw a steady recovery compared with the previous quarter, attributed to the company’s right brand portfolio, impactful marketing, innovation and strong organisational structure.

Based in the US, The Coca-Cola Company offers more than 500 brands to consumers in over 200 countries. The company offers diverse beverage portfolio such as water, enhanced water, sparkling soft drinks, sports drink, juice, dairy, tea, coffee and energy drinks. The non-alcoholic sparkling soft drink brands of the company include Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Fanta and Sprite.

3. Nestle – $31.5bn

Top ten drinks companies in 2020
Nestle’s Starbucks products earned more than $308.9m in revenue in 2019. Credit: Shanti Hesse / Shutterstock.

Nestle generated net revenues of $95.3bn in 2019, of which the powdered and liquid beverages and water segments accounted for $31.5bn.

Nestle’s existing coffee portfolio was extended with the launch of a new line of coffee products under the Starbucks brand in February 2019. The Starbucks products generated a revenue of more than $308.9m in 2019 and are currently sold in more than 40 countries.

The strong demand for the Starbucks products, Coffee-mate and Nescafé contributed to the high sales in beverage category in 2019.

In the first half of 2020, the company had to incur an expense of $305.6m due to Covid-19, including bonuses to front-line workers, employee safety measures, donations and other related allowances. Nestle incurred an additional $126.4m due to the idle staff and facilities during the lock-down restrictions.

Based in Switzerland, Nestle is a food and drinks company with 291,000 employees worldwide. Some of its key brands include Nestle Pure Life, Perrier, Poland Spring in Bottled water segment, Nescafe Classic, Nescafe Decaff, Nescafe Dolce Gusto, Nescafe Gold in coffee segment.

4. Pepsico – $30.8bn

Top ten drinks companies in 2020
Pepsico generated $30.8bn in revenue from its beverage portfolio in 2019. Credit: Pepsico.

Pepsico earned net revenue of $67.1bn in 2019, up 4% compared to the previous year.

The company’s beverage portfolio contributed to $30.8bn of the total revenue, which accounted for 46% of the net revenues in 2019. The remaining 54% was contributed by the food portfolio.

The Covid-19 outbreak did not impact the company significantly, primarily due to the resilience in its snacks and food business globally. The pandemic, however, moderately impacted global beverage sales.

Based in the US, Pepsico is a food and beverage company that serves consumers in more than 200 countries. It employs approximately 267,000 people worldwide. The top global beverage brands of the company are Pepsi, Pepsi Black, Mountain Dew, Tropicana, Lipton, Aquafina, 7Up, Mirinda, Brisk, Sierra Mist and Gatorade.

5. Starbucks Corporation – $26.9bn

Top ten drinks companies in 2020
Starbucks Corporation operates more than 31,000 retail stores in 80 markets. Credit: Starbucks Corporation.

Starbucks Corporation generated total revenues of $26.9bn in 2019, primarily driven by the sales from company-operated stores. Revenues from the global comparable stores increased by 5% compared to the previous year.

The company opened its first Starbucks® Pickup store in the Penn Plaza of the New York City in November 2019. It plans to ramp up the Starbucks brand by three key strategies, including expanding in the US and China markets, increasing the brand through the Global Coffee Alliance with Nestlé, as well as by increasing the shareholder’s returns.

Temporary store closures and modified operations, along with reduced hours and customer traffic impacted the store sales during the Covid-19 crisis. The net revenues of the company fell by 38% in the third quarter of 2020 compared with the corresponding period in 2019.

The company operates more than 31,000 retail stores in 80 markets, which employs more than 300,000 people. Its brand portfolio comprises Starbucks Coffee, Seattle’s Best Coffee, Teavana, Evolution Fresh, Ethos Water and Torrefazione Italia Coffee.

6. Heineken – $26.75bn

Top ten drinks companies in 2020
Heineken’s global brand, Heineken® reported strong volume growth of 8.3% in 2019. Credit: Karanik Yimpat/Shutterstock.

Heineken reported net revenue of $26.75bn with a net beer production volume of 241.4Mhl in 2019, representing a 5.6% increase in revenue compared with the previous year. The company’s global brand, Heineken®, reported strong volume growth of 8.3%, attributed to diverse markets, including Brazil, South Africa, Mexico, UK, Nigeria, Romania and Germany.

The international brands of the company include Sol, Tiger, and Desperados; low or no alcohol brands include Heineken® 0.0; international craft portfolio includes Lagunitas, and global cider range includes Strongbow apple ciders.

The company’s net revenue declined by 16.4% on an organic basis and beer volume witnessed an 11.5% organic decline in the first half of 2020 due to Covid-19 outbreak.

Headquartered in the Netherlands, Heineken is primarily a beer and cider brewing and marketing company. It offers more than 300 brands in 190 countries and employs more than 85,800 employees.

7. Fomento Economico Mexicano (FEMSA) – $26.8bn

Top ten drinks companies in 2020
FEMSA’s beverage portfolio contains more than 169 soft drinks including brand Coca Cola. Credit: kiraziku2u/ Shutterstock.

Mexican beverage company FEMSA reported $26.8bn in revenue in 2019, a 7.9% increase over 2018.

The company holds 47.2% stakes in the Coca-Cola FEMSA, a publicly traded beverage company, which manufactures, distributes and markets certain Coca-Cola beverages in Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Venezuela, Guatemala, Uruguay, Nicaragua, Panama and Brazil.

The total revenue of the company declined by 10.7% in the second quarter of 2020 compared to the corresponding period in 2019, due to Covid-19 crisis. The Coca-Cola FEMSA reported a 10.2% decline in total revenues and a 7.2% decline in volumes in the second quarter of 2020 versus the same period in 2019, due to lockdowns and social distancing measures.

The company’s beverage portfolio contains more than 169 soft drinks, including Coca-Cola brands such as Jugos del Valle, Powerade, and Santa Clara, as well as the company’s premium coffee brand Andatti, which is exclusively available in its OXXO stores. The OXXO’s store base reduced by 40 units, including temporary closures in the second quarter of 2020 due to the Covid-19 crisis.

Heineken Group holds a 14.8% interest in FEMSA. Both the companies signed an agreement to extend their existing business relationship in February 2019. FEMSA also started selling Grupo Modelo beer brands in its OXXO stores in certain regions of Mexico, which will cover the entire region by 2022. It currently serves more than 320 million consumers across 13 countries.

8. Suntory Holdings – $21.4bn

Top ten drinks companies in 2020
Suntory Holdings earned a combined revenue of $21.4bn from beverages and foods and alcoholic beverages segments in 2019. Credit: Suntory Holdings.

Suntory Holdings’ net revenue in 2019 was $23.5bn, grew by 2.1% compared to the previous year.

The company operates three business segments, including beverages and foods, alcoholic beverages, and others. The first two segments accounted for a combined revenue of $21.4bn in 2019.

The revenue from the beverages and foods segment increased by 0.4%, while revenue from alcoholic beverages segment rose by 3.2% year-on-year. The beverages and foods segment includes non-alcoholic beverages, health drinks, processed foods and other products, while the alcoholic beverages include spirits, beer, wine and others.

The company’s revenue in the first six months of 2020 fell by 10.7% compared to the same period of the previous year, due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Based in Japan, Suntory Holdings comprises 300 group companies in Japan, Europe, The Americas and Asia, and Oceania territories. The company has a workforce of 40,210 people. Some of its popular brands include Suntory Tennensui, Boss, Pepsi Japan cola, Suntory Oolong Tea, C.C. Lemon, Yamazaki, Kakubin, Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark Bourbon and Courvoisier.

9. Diageo – $16.8bn

Top ten drinks companies in 2020
Scotch accounted for 25% of the total net sales of Diageo in 2019. Credit: Diageo.

Diageo posted $16.8bn (£12.8bn) in revenues in 2019, an increase of 5.8% compared to 2018. Scotch contributed 25% to the net sales of the company, followed by beer (16%) and vodka (11%) in 2019.

The company’s performance was impacted significantly by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. The organic net sales of the company in 2020 declined by 8.4% compared with 2019, primarily due to an 11.2% decrease in organic volumes.

Headquartered in London, Diageo sells more than 200 brands in over 180 countries. Its key brands include Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff, Captain Morgan, Buchanan’s and Windsor whiskies, Cîroc and Ketel One vodkas, Crown Royal, JεB, Don Julio Baileys, Tanqueray and Guinness. The company has a workforce of 28,400.

10. Asahi Group Holdings – $11.5bn

Top ten drinks companies in 2020
The alcoholic beverages and soft drinks segments of Asahi Group Holdings earned a combined revenue of $11.5bn in 2019. Credit: JR AK / Shutterstock.

Asahi Group Holdings generated $19.1bn in revenue in 2019, majorly driven by the revenues of alcoholic beverages business. It has four main segments, namely alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, food, and overseas.

The alcoholic beverages and soft drinks segments earned a combined revenue of $11.5bn in 2019, of which alcoholic beverages business, led by Asahi Super Dry, accounted for 40.5% of the net sales.

The on-premise consumption declined, while demand for products for home use increased in Japan, Australia, Europe, and other regions due to the Covid-19 impact. The company will promote premiumisation in the off-premise market to improve its profit margin in addition to the on-premise marketing of its core brands.

Based in Japan, Asahi Group Holdings currently employs approximately 30,666 people. Its core brands include Asahi, Ko Otsu Mixed Shochu, Black Nikka, Wilkinson Carbonated Drink, Mitsuya Cider, and Calpis.