Once again The Coca-Cola Co. and Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) are flipping positions to claim the top spot in Beverage Industry’s annual Top 100 Report. Based on 2016 financial sales, AB InBev reclaimed the No. 1 spot as sales were up more than $2 billion compared with 2015 financial sales. With its merger with SABMiller finalized in late 2016, one can presume that the international brewer will rest comfortably in the No. 1 spot for years to come. SABMiller will not be the only company that won’t appear on next year’s list as notable mergers and acquisitions continue throughout 2017. Already Danone Group completed its acquisition of WhiteWave Foods Co. and Heineken N.V. purchased the remaining 50 percent stake in Lagunitas Brewing Co. Regarding the halfway point, the list continued to show growth as Rockstar Inc. finished 2016 with $726 million in sales for the No. 50 spot. This is up from the estimated $667 million by Trinchero Family Estates based on 2015 financial sales.

Click here to view the 2016 Top 100 beverage companies list.

Top beverage brands

Coca-Cola maintained its spot as the No. 1 beverage brand on the U.K.'s BrandFinance Global 500 list for 2016 with a value of more than $34 million. Pepsi remained No. 2 on the list and Moutai, a China-based spirits brand, jumped five spots versus last year to claim the third spot. Cracking the Top 10 this year was Gatorade.

(Brand Value, U.S. $ millions)
Coca-Cola 34,180
Pepsi 18,947
Moutai 7,211
Red Bull 6,538
NesCafe 6,169
Bud Light 4,922
Johnnie Walker 4,630
Budweiser 4,503
Heineken 4,326
Gatorade 4,070

Source: BrandFinance Global 500, 2016

Top cap ex spenders

Beverage companies continued to invest in their companies in 2016. This year’s Top 4 spenders held their spots, while Heineken N.V. jumped onto the list at No. 5, which dropped Unilever Group to the No. 6 top spender. Starbucks also was added to the list this year at No. 7, along with Danone, which made the No. 10 spot.

(Public companies, U.S. $ millions)
Anheuser-Busch InBev 4,768
Nestlé SA* 3,979
PepsiCo Inc.* 3,040
The Coca-Cola Co. 2,262
Heineken N.V. 2,116
Unilever Group* 2,043
Starbucks Corp. 1,440
Davide Campari 1,339
SABMiller plc 1,210
Danone Group 1,007

Source: Reported and publicly available estimates of capital expenditures among public companies in 2016.

*Includes cap ex spending against non-beverage products

Top 10 beverage Facebook pages

Fans are coming out in masses to support their favorite beverage brands on social media. Consumers continue to show their love, or should we say "like," through Facebook. Coca-Cola reached a milestone by surpassing the 100 million mark. This year also saw Dr Pepper fall off the list while Jack Daniels made an appearance at No. 10.

(By number of fans)
Coca-Cola 104,276,777
Red Bull 46,690,530
Starbucks 36,723,771
Pepsi 36,508,136
NesCafé 35,526,980
Monster Energy 25,641,154
Heineken 22,768,163
Sprite 22,195,438
Fanta 19,141,730
Jack Daniels 15,641,181

Source: Search conducted May 10, according to socialbakers.com and individual page visits.

Number of employees

Maintaining a team is essential to beverage companies looking to succeed. This year, the list remains relatively consistent to 2015, with the Top 3 companies holding their places. Unilever Group moved up on the list in 2016, taking the No. 4 spot from Anheuser-Busch InBev, which moved to No. 5. LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, The Coca-Cola Co., Danone Group, Heineken N.V. and SABMiller plc all maintained their positions as well.

Nestlé SA 328,000
PepsiCo Inc.* 264,000
Starbucks 254,000
Anheuser-Busch InBev 200,000
Unilever* 169,000
LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton* 134,000
The Coca-Cola Co. 100,300
Danone Group 99,187
Henieken N.V. 73,525
SABMiller plc 70,000

Source: Reported and publicly available estimates of numbers of employees

*Includes employees in non-beverage divisions.

Top 100 by location

Although many might be flocking to California to enjoy the weather, the Golden State also could entice those looking to work in the beverage industry as it is home to highest number of Top 100 beverage companies. New York once again came in at No. 2, but Illinois separated itself from last year's six-way tie for third to occupy the position by itself this year.

California 17
New York 10
Illinios 6
Canada 4
Colorado 4
Texas 4
Washington 4
United Kingdom 4

*Michigan, Pennsylvania and Texas also have three.

Top 100 by category

Juices remains the top contender when it comes to Top 100 companies. The beverage category saw its number of manufacturers increase by two this year in comparison to 2015. Other than water edging past spirits, the makeup of categories remained fairly consistent with past years.

(Number of Top 100 companies that produce)
Juice and juice drinks 33
Wine 25
Beer 22
Tea and RTD tea 20
Water 18
Spirits 17
Coffee and RTD coffee 15
Soft drinks 15
Energy drinks and shots 13
Sports and protein drinks and shots 11
Dairy-based drinks and alternatives 9
Beverage mixes 6
Flavored malt beverages 6
Hard cider 6
Liquid concentrates 6

Click here to view the 2016 Top 100 beverage companies list.