James Dennin, Kapitall: Comsumption of Coke and other soft-drinks is sagging. What could the future hold for these 5 beverage stocks?
Coca Cola (KO) announced its earnings this week, which revealed more or less exactly what one would have expected: An increasingly health-savvy country is drinking slightly less Coke. However, the consumer giant made up for this by selling more of everything else, particularly bottled water.
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Americans, and the rest of the world, are changing their drinking habits. Not all of it is making us healthier, though.A big part of the drop in soda sales in the US has been attributed to the rise of energy and sports drinks like Monster (MNST) or Gatorade (PEP). The market as a whole for energy drinks has grown 5000% in the last 15 years. It makes sense that Coca-Cola and Pepsi–originally marketed as medicinal beverages for their eye-opening dose of caffeine–would see the biggest downside as the trend plays out. We're also drinking a lot more bourbon and whiskey. There's been a number of noteworthy acquisitions in the spirits industry, most notably Beam (BEAM)'s acquisition by the Japanese spirits-maker Suntori. They were likely motivated by the nearly 20% surge in the market for bourbon outside of the US. The activity has a number of important takeaways. For one, it shows the increasing importance of an international foothold for beverage makers as taste varies wildly from country to country. India drinks almost half the world's whiskey, for instance. And the average Latin American drinks almost twice as much Coke as the average European. It also affirms skepticism toward the efforts of health advocates like Michael Bloomberg who have made a target of sugary drinks.
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