Close Menu

Top five innovative drinks companies

Forbes magazine has published its top 100 most innovative companies, but which drinks companies appeared on the list?

Written by Jeff Dyer and Hal Gregersen, the top 100 most innovative companies is based on series of economic factors including “market capitalisation”, cash flows and equity investments.

The magazine also requires firms to have published seven years of public financial data, which is why Facebook does not currently appear in the list.

In addition Forbes requires a certain percentage of sales to be spent on research and development. All these factors, plus several others combine to create Forbes‘ “innovation premium”, allowing the magazine to develop its list of innovative companies. Full details of how Forbes calculates the ratings can be found here.

In terms of drinks companies, six made it into the top 100, can you guess which companies these are and the order they appear in?

5 – Carlsberg (66)

Danish brewer Carlsberg is the fifth most innovative drinks company, ranking 66th overall in Forbes‘ list. Carlsberg’s portfolio consists of over 500 beer brands and the brewery has operations in Northern, Western and Eastern Europe as well as in Asia. With over 41,000 employees, Forbes also lists Carlsberg as generating US$11.61 billion in sales, with $7.09bn in debt, $1.02bn cash on hand and $27.24bn in assets.

4 – Anheuser-Busch Inbev (45)

The Belgium-based brewing giant operates globally with flagship brands like Budweiser, Stella Artois and Beck’s. Other brands in its portfolio include Skol, Bud Light, Brahma and Michelob. With a strong presence in North America and across Latin America AB InBev recored sales of $39.76bn, has 118,000 employees and has listed assets of over $122bn. Last year AB InBev was the world’s largest brewer with almost 25% of the global market share and the world’s third largest fast-moving consumer goods company.

3 – Diageo (27)

Diageo’s Reserve portfolio

It is perhaps surprising that the world’s biggest drinks company does not take out the top spot as most innovative drinks company, instead coming in third, 27th overall. With brands including Smirnoff, Johnnie Walker, Guinness and Blossom Hill, Diageo is the world’s largest producer of spirits and a major producer of beer and wine. With over 25,000 employees, Diageo’s sales last year totalled $16.9bn with a profit of $3.05bn and is currently the eighth largest company listed on the London Stock Exchange. Having headed Diageo for 12 years, former CEO Paul Walsh stood down this year to be replaced by Ivan Menezes.

2 – Beam

The second most innovative drinks company, and 21st overall is Beam Inc. The company’s brands include Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark and Knob Creek as well as Scotch brands Laphroaig, Ardmore and Teacher’s Highland Cream. With 3,400 employees, last year’s sales totalled $2.47bn and profit came to $382.4m. Forbes listed the company as having an “innovation premium” of 40, which put it ahead of Diageo’s 37.5, but was just not quite enough for it to take top spot.

1 – Pernod Ricard

Forbes‘ most innovative drinks company is the world’s second-largest – Pernod Ricard. The French-based company is active in eight principal drinks sectors: whiskies, aniseed spirits, liqueurs, cognacs and brandies, white spirits and rums, bitters, champagnes and wines. Its brands include The Glenlivet, Chivas Regal, Malibu, Jameson as well as Perrier-Jouet and Mumm Champagne. Its 2012 sales came to $10.4bn, with profits of $1.45bn and the company currently employs more than 18,300 people.

Pernod Ricard scored an innovation premium of 40.5, putting it 20th overall in the Forbes list. Martin Riley, chief marketing officer for Pernod Ricard, said: “Innovation is part of the Group’s daily life. We are currently working on over 300 innovative projects. Innovation is the responsibility of all of us at Pernod Ricard and is resolutely action-oriented.”

It looks like you're in Asia, would you like to be redirected to the Drinks Business Asia edition?

Yes, take me to the Asia edition No