15 Largest Soda Brands

By Chris Kolmar - Dec. 23, 2020

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Sugary soft drinks are a guilty pleasure for many consumers and a massive business for producers. The top competitors in the soda game who dominate the market make over 20 billion dollars each from the brands that they collectively own.

Many people are shocked to find the massive revenue larger companies acquire annually through various products and are curious to know the largest soda brands.

The 15 largest soda brands are:

  1. Coca-Cola

  2. Pepsi

  3. Diet Coke

  4. Dr. Pepper

  5. Mountain Dew

  6. Sprite

  7. Tropicana

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  8. Red Bull

  9. Fanta

  10. Sunkist

  11. Gatorade

  12. Minute Maid

  13. Sierra Mist

  14. Vitamin Water

  15. 7-Up

A Closer Look at the Brands and How They Were Ranked

  1. Coca-Cola. Owned By: The Coca-Cola Company

    2019 Total Company Annual Revenue: $37.27 Billion

    This is the first brand name that often comes to mind when given the topic of the most popular sodas. While it’s the name of a famous soda, it also represents a company that owns a huge percentage of the brands on this list. The soda originally came to be in 1886 when a pharmacist named John Pemberton from Atlanta created the cola beverage. He originally toted the drink as a miracle cure-all to many ailments such as headaches and fatigue.

    In reality, the original soft drink consisted of coca leaf, containing cocaine, and high levels of caffeine. The cocaine was removed after the early 1900s. Since then, Coca-Cola has had a long history of impressive advertising campaigns and sales.

    They are by far the most popular soda brand internationally based on their annual revenue in 2019.

  2. Pepsi. Owned By: PepsiCo

    2019 Total Company Annual Revenue: $67.16 Billion
    2019 Pepsi Soda Brand Revenue: Around $20 Billion

    The company PepsiCo owns 23 billion-dollar brands, starting with the soda called “Pepsi-Cola.” It was originally an attempt by a pharmacist Caleb Bradham to duplicate the achievements of their well-known competitor, Coca-Cola. The soda brand was initiated in 1898. It was upgraded to become the Pepsi Company by 1902 due to the drink’s incredible success.

    Today, Pepsi is much larger than the drink that was formulated to compete against Coca-Cola. PepsiCo unified with the popular brand FritoLay, Inc in 1965 – a company responsible for the production of many snack foods people have come to love. They went on to purchase a series of popular fast-food chains throughout the 1980s, such as Taco Bell and Kentucky Fried Chicken.

    In 2020, PepsiCo is one of the largest food and drink producers in the world. While the soft drink that kickstarted the Pepsi company is still their most valuable product, it’s only the second-largest soda brand when comparing their sales to Coca-Cola.

  3. Diet Coke. Owned By: The Coca-Cola Company

    2019 Total Company Annual Revenue: $37.27 Billion

    For almost a hundred years, the Coca-Cola brand experienced continuous success. By 1980 the company decided it was time to initiate a change. This came in the form of bringing the Diet Coke brand to market, a revolutionarily lower-calorie soda to play off the emerging values of diet options.

    It promised to deliver the same delicious taste without the harmful health aspects soda usually has. However, this was never truly the case.

    This extension of the Coca-Cola brand name and trademark proved to be a successful endeavor. It continues to flourish as one of the company’s most lucrative products in 2020.

  4. Dr. Pepper. Owned By: Keurig Dr. Pepper

    2019 Total Company Annual Revenue: $11.12 Billion

    About 130 years ago, a pharmacist named Charles Alterton formulated a new soft drink, which later became known as the brand Dr. Pepper.

    The soda became so popular among locals that the pharmacist couldn’t keep up with the demand for Dr. Pepper. The brand ultimately partnered with a juice company called Snapple to form the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group. It remained like this until 2018, when Keurig purchased Dr. Pepper for $18.7 billion.

    Dr. Pepper is a unique brand from other sodas because it’s one of the few that’s not owned by the two conglomerates of soft drinks. While the Dr. Pepper brand and company’s annual revenues aren’t as high as its toughest competitors, they’re still one of the largest soda brands on the market.

  5. Mountain Dew. Owned By: PepsiCo

    2019 Brand Annual Revenue: $7 Billion

    The Mountain Dew brand was established after two brothers in Knoxville, TN created the concoction in the early 1940s with the hopes of using it as a mixer with whiskey. As such, the name was born out of being a slang term for “moonshine,” or homemade alcohol during this era. While the brothers enjoyed their beverage by themselves for a while, it was made available to the public by the 1950s.

    The Mountain Dew brand wasn’t received well initially. It took about fifteen years of reworking the recipe and peddling the soda before PepsiCo eventually bought it in 1964. The giant beverage company pushed the Mountain Dew brand to new heights of success.

    Today it continues to be one of PepsiCo’s strongest assets by marketing it as the soft drink of extreme sports.

  6. Sprite. Owned By: The Coca-Cola Company

    2019 Annual Revenue: $6 Billion

    Sprite is a lemon-lime flavored alternative to the caramel nature of its distant cousin, Coca-Cola. It was introduced to the United States in the early 1960s under the name Sprite as a call-back to some of The Coca-Cola Company’s advertisements over the past decade.

    The new brand of clear-colored soda took off and was internationally recognized by 1970. It remains to be one of the most profitable brand names associated with The Coca-Cola company.

  7. Tropicana. Owned By: PepsiCo

    2019 Annual Revenue: $6 Billion

    Although the Tropicana brand carries juice products, they act as competition for some major soda brands. The brand is also owned by PepsiCo, which is one of the largest soda corporations.

    Tropicana was founded in 1947 by an Italian-immigrant to the United States named Anthony Rossi. They became known for their orange juice, which used a technique of flash pasteurization to keep it fresh for longer. By the 1970s, the brand branched past the United States borders into areas like the Bahamas.

    The brand was sold every ten years between 1978-1998 until it was finally purchased by PepsiCo, which continues to control Tropicana today.

  8. Red Bull. Owned By: Red Bull GbmH

    2019 Annual Revenue: $4.2 Billion

    Whether their fix is coffee or caffeine pills, people are always on the lookout for new ways to keep themselves awake, and the Red Bull brand fits right into this demand. Red Bull was created in Thailand using B vitamins, glucuronolactone, and caffeine to produce increased endurance in the drinker. It wasn’t until 1987 that the drink became an international brand by an Austrian man named Dietrich Mateschitz.

    While it still contains a lot of the same chemicals that sodas do, it’s considered and marketed as an energy drink that helps you keep going through strenuous physical and mental activities.

  9. Fanta. Owned By: The Coca-Cola Company

    2019 Total Company Annual Revenue: $37.27 Billion

    When walking into a gas station to pick out a soda, it’s hard to ignore Fanta’s bright orange color. The history of this vibrant soft drink is surprising, as it was invented during World War II in Germany, which was the second-largest consumer of its parent company’s brand Coca-Cola.

    Fanta was created by Max Keith, head of German Coca-Cola operations, to establish an alternative that could be made from food scraps of seasonal fruit. After World War II, the soda was brought to Italy for rebranding, and the famous orange flavor of Fanta was added.

    In the twenty-first century, Fanta has maintained its growth as the smaller sister product to Coca-Cola, coming out with several new flavors throughout the years.

  10. Sunkist. Owned By: Keurig Dr. Pepper

    2019 Brand Annual Revenue: $1.15 Billion

    Born out of California and Arizona, the brand Sunkist Growers is known for its fruit juices. While the original proprietors of the Sunkist name were for juices, the title became synonymous with the popular orange-soda brand after being licensed to Pepsi in the late 1970s.

    The orange soda brand has changed hands numerous times over the years. As of 2020, it’s under the control of the company Keurig Dr. Pepper and remains the largest competitor to Fanta.

  11. Gatorade. Owned By: PepsiCo

    2019 Annual Revenue: $1 Billion

    Gatorade’s story is one that’s become a mix of fact and exaggeration, but the tale goes that it was created at the University of Florida in 1965. It was introduced as a sports drink that would resupply athletes of the carbohydrates they lose through their sweat. The most prominent quality that sets the Gatorade brand apart from other soft drinks on the market is this stated replenishment of electrolytes.

    Gatorade’s brand name was taken from its use and promotion by the University of Florida’s football team, the Gators. The drink was eventually acquired by Quaker Oats, which then trickled to PepsiCo through purchase in 2001.

    Although it’s not a soda, the soft drink has similar sugar contents and is today owned by one of the largest soda companies.

  12. Minute Maid. Owned By: The Coca-Cola Company

    2019 Annual Revenue: $1 Billion

    Minute Maid is another brand that’s drinks aren’t necessarily soda, but the soft-drink giant Coca-Cola owns them. They also compete with carbonated beverages on the soda market.

    Coca-Cola purchased the brand early on in 1960. The first product that put Minute Maid on the map was their ready-to-drink orange juice in 1973. The production of pre-squeezed orange juice initiated Minute Maid into direct competition with Tropicana, a brand associated with PepsiCo.

    This rivalry playfully dictated the “orange juice wars” continue between Minute Maid and Tropicana today. The brand has extended its products well beyond orange juice, having over 100 different kinds of juices.

  13. Sierra Mist. Owned By: PepsiCo

    2019 Brand Annual Revenue: About $1 Billion

    As with many of the largest soda brands on the market, Sierra Mist was a product put out to present competition to Coca-Cola. PepsiCo released Sierra Mist in 1999 to replace their other lemon-lime options and rival Sprite.

    Throughout the twenty-first century, Sierra Mist has seen a variety of changes in brand image and product options, such as a zero-sugar option, renaming, and new flavors. The brand recently switched up its name completely to Mist Twist for two years before reverting to Sierra Mist in 2018.

  14. Vitamin Water. Owned By: The Coca-Cola Company

    2019 Annual Revenue: About $950 Million

    Vitamin Water is a line of colorful electrolyte boosted flavored water founded by a company called Energy Brands (also known as Glacéau) in 2000. The brand grew over the next few years until The Coca-Cola Company eventually picked it up as an independent subsidiary in 2007.

    Despite Vitamin Water’s early triumphs, the brand experienced some backlash in the form of lawsuits in 2009, stating that the drink was being advertised as healthy. When in reality, it had just as much sugar and harmful additives as soda. The class-action suit was eventually settled. The Coca-Cola Company agreed to reign in their outlandish health claims, and Vitamin Water continues to be sold across the world.

  15. 7Up. Owned By: Keurig Dr. Pepper

    2019 Brand Annual Revenue: $15.7 Million

    7Up is one of the longest standing soda brands on the market. It’s lemon-lime flavor formula, and the title was developed throughout the 1930s by Charles Leiper Grigg.

    Like other sodas created over a hundred years ago, the original recipe contained ingredients that would never be seen in 7Up today, such as lithium citrate. Lithium is a medicine used for stabilizing moods. Stating that 7Up was a mood booster was part of the soda’s marketing strategy until 1948, when the ingredient was removed.

    7Up went on to switch hands between various companies until it joined forces with Dr. Pepper in 1988.

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Chris Kolmar

Author

Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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