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- Largest Companies
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- How Companies Make Money
If you’re not already a huge fan of sparkling water, get ready to become one. This field is exploding, and we’re bubbling with excitement to tell you about it. The sparkling water industry is one of the fastest-growing non-alcoholic beverage categories, with a sales increase of 11% between 2013 and 2018.
People are opting for bubbly, flavored water in lieu of soda. They love that it still has the fizz, it has flavor, and some even have caffeine. As a matter of fact, some companies are opting to add alcohol and have created sparkling “hard” water. But we’ll leave that discussion for another day.
What carbonated water doesn’t have is sugar. Most of them are either calorie-free or very low in calories. Be careful here because tonic water, which might be considered the first of all sparkling waters, has a whopping 124 calories in a 12-ounce drink. Today’s trendy water brands shy away from such high calorie counts, but it’s always worth a peek on the label to see what’s in the drink.
Some of the biggest names in sparkling water are brands you are already familiar with, like PepsiCo and Coca-Cola. They’ve created offshoots and given their new sparkling water brands their very own identities, but they weren’t about to get left out of this multi-billion dollar a year industry.
So, who are the biggest names in sparkling water? Is your favorite brand on the list? Probably, and the reason why may surprise you.
15 Largest Sparkling Water Brands
Private label sparkling water sold a remarkable $571,099,204 of product from August 2018 to August 2019. That’s 7.9% growth over the prior year. They own a whopping 18.3% of the entire market share.
And that’s where your favorite might be categorized because that includes virtually all store-branded waters, like Costco’s Kirkland or Kroger’s Simple Truth Organic Seltzer Water.
Company’s sales: $478,602,970
Up 19.3% over the prior year
15.3% of the market shareJob type you wantFull TimePart TimeInternshipTemporary
Wow, this company knows how to make sparkling water and holds the lion’s share of the market. Talking Rain was founded in 1987, and in 1992 the company created the Sparkling Ice brand and moved to its current home in Preston, Washington.
The company has done incredibly well, and in 2018 they introduced a caffeinated version of Sparkling Ice. They’ve also entered the alcohol arena but in a tertiary way. They have Sparkling Ice cocktail and mocktail recipes that you can find on Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. None of their products actually contain alcohol, but they do make good mixers.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Company’s sales: $429,311,551
Down 3.2% over the prior year
13.7% of the market share
La Croix was the king for flavored water for quite a long time. And their parent company, National Beverage Corporation, is ranked as the fifth-largest soft drink company in the United States. What other brands does National Beverage make? How about these:
La Croix Curate (more on this later)
La Croix has had a little trouble in the last couple of years and showed a drop in 2019 over the prior year. There is some controversy over what the ingredient list contains, and they’re facing some lawsuits regarding this issue. There has also been a bit of controversy about their logos being potentially offensive.
That said, the company is still doing incredibly well. So well that they have two offerings on this list of the top 10 selling sparkling waters.
Vergeze, Gard, France
Company’s sales: $289,197,086
Up 4.7% over the prior year
9.2% of the market share
Perrier was once so iconic that its name was synonymous with fizzy water. You drank your restaurant water flat, or you drank Perrier. Today, Perrier is still holding its own, which is remarkable when you realize it’s been around since 1863. There’s a reason why it’s one of the favorites around the world.
Perrier was part of the Perrier Vittel Group SA, and then in 1992, the company was bought by Nestle (yes, that Nestle that you know and love), and a parent company was born, called Nestle Waters France.
While Perrier had natural, lemon, and lime flavors on the market for many years, they were unwilling to be left behind by the up-and-coming new brands. Since 2007, they’ve introduced many different flavors, some of which are only found overseas. They’re clearly doing quite well, and we expect this sparkling water staple to be around for a long time.
Purchase, Harrison, NY
Company’s sales: $194,392,779
Up 216.3% over the prior year
6.2% of the market share
If you didn’t already know it, Bubly is owned by soda giant PepsiCo. Their launch was in February 2018, and their sales have been nothing short of meteoric (look at their 216.3% increase over last year). When you consider they’re still in their infancy and ranked just below a worldwide icon with a history that is rapidly coming up on 200 years – that’s saying something.
Bubly has marketing genius behind it and can rely on their big parent to keep propelling them to success. Using humor and super-celebrity Michael Buble, this company will probably continue to grow and amaze its shareholders.
Company’s sales: $188,400,269
Up 17.2% over the prior year
6% of the market share
Polar is also not new to this market. They can trace their history back to 1882, when they were founded by a distiller named Dennis Crowley. Remarkably, this company is still family-owned and operated. It’s a hometown favorite and has a growing national following. It’s 17.2% growth over last year is evidence of its draw.
In fact, Polar Beverages Inc. is the largest independent bottling company in the United States. And they don’t just make their own brands. They’re one of those experts mentioned above who partners with other companies to help them produce their own private label sparkling waters.
San Pellegrino Terme in Lombardy, Italy
Company’s sales: $154,698,290
Up 10.9% over the prior year
4.9% of the market share
San Pellegrino prides itself on quality. It’s a natural mineral water that flows from Val Brembana in the San Pellegrino Terme area, which is in the foothills of the Italian Alps. This makes the water naturally enriched with mineral salts. It takes a proven 30 years for water to go from the top of the mountain to the base where it is sourced.
The company, Sanpellegrino S.p.A., began more than 620 years ago (in a very different form) when the water from this region was touted as being miraculous. Even Leonardo da Vinci is said to have visited the town to examine and sample the water. What once was a spa eventually became a factory, and the water had carbonation added for fizz.
In 1970 the company changed its name to the familiar Sanpelligrino. But by 1997, it was purchased by Perrier Vittel SA, a division of Nestle by that time. Yes, San Pellegrino and Perrier are both owned by Nestle.
In keeping with their Italian roots, the flavors offered by San Pellegrino are distinctly Italian in nature and can be found as popular treats in the country. They include:
Arancia & Fico D’India
Limone & Menta
Melograno & Arancia
Company’s sales: $136,991,805
Up 37.3% over the prior year
4.4% of the market share
Topo Chico uses a lovely legend of the water’s virtues and how the magic waters restored health to a Princess. Since 1895 this sparkling mineral water has been sourced and bottled in Monterrey, Mexico.
If you’ve been wondering when you’d see Coca-Cola’s name crop up as the parent company of one of these very lucrative sparkling water brands, the time is now. Since 2017, Topo Chico has been owned by Coca-Cola. If you were unfamiliar with the name before, you might start to see it around a bit now. With a giant in the soft beverage industry behind it, this company rocketed up 37.3% in the last year and has the potential to continue rising.
One way Topo Chico has made it into the glasses of people in the United States is by becoming part of a trendy cocktail. The Ranch Water is simply Topo Chico, tequila, and lime. Think of it as a baby margarita, not as sweet, not as heavy, and bubbly.
Company’s sales: $54,201,560
Down 14% over the prior year
1.7% of the market share
Speaking of cocktails, for years, Schweppes was the tonic water of choice for bartenders. It probably still is, but now they’ve added some flavored sparkling waters to their menu.
Schweppes tonic water began in 1783 in Geneva, Switzerland, and is called the world’s original soft drink. The carbonated mineral water quickly became a hit. If you noted the city and state above, you could see that Schweppes is a long way from Switzerland today.
The company has been incredibly successful for more than 200 years, so it’s garnered the attention of some very big players. In 1969 Cadbury merged with Schweppes Company, and they became Cadbury Schweppes. Many other acquisitions happened over the next several years. The company then was split into several units, and in 2008 the U.S. beverage unit became Keurig Dr. Pepper, which separated from Cadbury. The Cadbury part is now called Mondelez International. You almost need a flow chart to keep up with this, but long story simplified – today, Schweppes is owned by Keurig Dr. Pepper and has a U.S. trademark.
Wait? What about Schweppes Australia? Yes, Cadbury took part of Schweppes with them; they are owned by, get this, a Japanese company. And there’s more. Schweppes International Limited owns the trademark in a large number of countries. And Coca-Cola Company owns the brand in the UK and New Zealand, but not the US. Whew.
La Croix Curate
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Company’s sales: $52,188,011
Down 13.5% over the prior year
1.7% of the market share
La Croix Curate (pronounced, coo-rah-tay) apparently translates to “cure yourself.” It claims to be inspired by the romance of French and Spanish cultures and uses this to create bold packaging.
The flavors of Curate are what sets it apart with a bold and robust combination. Other than that, this flavored sparkling water is differentiating itself from its better-known parent by appealing to a younger demographic.
Honorable Mention Sparkling Water Brands
While those companies are raking in all the recognition and a large share of the sparkling water profits, there are certainly other brands on the market doing their share to get noticed.
The first sparkling water in the United States to be flavored with real fruit. In fact, you might notice that it’s not clear like water. That’s because of the fruit juice. And if that makes you wonder about the calories, good for you! Spindrift does not claim to have zero calories, like most other sparkling waters, but their calorie count is minimal, in the 10-20 calorie range for most of their products.
Hamilton, New Jersey
A child of the big parent company Keurig Dr. Pepper, Bai Bubbles Sparkling Water is diving into the infusion water world. They add antioxidants to their flavored sparkling water. This is a field that’s only going to see growth as people become more concerned about health.
It almost feels like Coca-Cola is late to the party with Topo Chico only joining the brand in 2017. And relative newcomer AHA. But they’re making up for it by dipping their toes in a few different arenas. AHA doesn’t feature one flavor; each can have a duo of flavors. There are no sweeteners, no calories, and no sodium in any of the favors. And what is sure to be a big new trend, a few of their flavors feature 30 mg of caffeine.
Saratoga Springs, NY
Established in 1872, Saratoga Spring Water Company has been a popular product for both still and sparkling water since its creation. It’s now getting ready to tap into that flavored water market. Keep on the lookout for their new flavors. Will they spark increased interest in the brand?
VOSS may not be a brand that everyone knows, but those that know it love it. In signature glass bottles, their still, enhanced, sparkling, and sparkling flavored water has high-class appeal. Keep your eye on this brand.
How We Ranked the Top 15 Sparking Water Companies
In order to come up with our list of most profitable sparkling water companies, we looked at industry data compiled by Information Resources Inc. and reported by Beverage Industry. Let’s look a little deeper at each of these companies and see what’s behind them.
Private Label Sparkling Water
If you’re wondering what private label sparkling water means, so were we. Private label is not the name of a brand; it’s actually the same product with a number of different names. Think about your local big-box grocery store. You know the one, with all the different foods and then they also sell health and beauty aids, they have camping supplies, clothing – really just about everything you could ever want. They also have their own brand of sparkling water.
They didn’t go out and learn everything there is to know about sparkling water, and formulations, and flavors, and bottling, etc. They contracted with a third-party vendor who already knows all of that stuff. The third-party vendor then works with the store to create labeling and branding, so the brand has its very own sparkling water, but it’s made by that company that creates those private labels for them.
There are a lot of companies out there that specialize in creating private labels for different retailers, and they all get lumped together in this category. If you love your local grocery, big-box store, gas station sparkling water – then it’s really the private label market’s product you love.
This list of some of the top sparkling water brands in the United States and the world shows that not only is the sparkling water market booming these days, but that it has always been viable. Look at the longevity of some of these brands; several have been around for a hundred years or more.
Not only does this field have a long history behind them, but they’re also drawing the attention of the really big guys. Superstars in the consumer fields, especially the soft drink arena, are taking notice and buying in or creating their own sparkling water. As health interests soar, expect to see more infused waters with health benefits. And there’s sure to be more caffeinated options on the market soon.
The best news is that there are a vast number of jobs available within these companies. Not only that, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are other sparkling water companies out there if you don’t want to work for one of the biggest. Start small, start local, and then branch out until you find the perfect sparkling water environment for you.
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