Top 10 most valuable drinks companies 2022
We’ve analysed data from Forbes’ list of the 2,000 biggest public companies in the world this year, and these are the global drinks giants with the greatest market value.
The full list is topped by Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway, based on its performance in the metrics of sales, profit, assets and market value. Banks, tech powerhouses and oil giants aren’t far behind in the rankings.
However, drinks companies are also in the mix. For the purpose of simplicity, they have been ranked by the market value/cap as provided by Forbes. Some of these companies are not exclusively restricted to drinks, but have been included as alcoholic beverages form a significant part of their business.
10. Brown-Forman US$32.09 billion
The location of the company’s headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky, offers a rather big clue into how it made its billions. But beyond American whiskey brands like Jack Daniel’s and Woodford Reserve, the company is no stranger to other sides of the drinks industry. Irish whiskey and Scotch whisky both feature in its portfolio, as does Finlandia vodka, Pepe Lopez Tequila, Chambord liqueur and Korbel wine, to offer a brief glimpse into the diverse brands it deals with. EU tariffs did severely reduce profits (by an estimated US$70 million a year), though the end of the dispute earlier this year means good news for the trans-Atlantic spirits industry as a whole.
9. Jiangsu Yanghe Brewery US$32.79bn
Baijiu is big business, as will become growingly apparent further down this list. The company calls its underground cellars “the Underground Palace of Baijiu” and Suqian, where it is found, “China’s capital of baijiu”. Domestic operations are in the historic Chinese capital of Nanjing. Indeed, it is claimed that both of the groups subsidary brands (Yanghe and Shuanggou) are both more than 1,300 years old. At present, the group has 30,000 employees. Last year, a report found Yanghe to be the third most valuable spirits brand in the world, though it was pipped to silver and gold by two entries later on in this list.
8. Constellation Brands US$46.99bn
Headquartered in the state of New York, Constellation is the US’ biggest beer importer (by sales). The most notable brand in its portfolio is Corona beer, though Casa Noble Tequila and Ruffino are also among the names it works with. Beyond drinks, the company is also investing in the growth area of legalised marijuana, though its US$4bn investment in Canadian cannabis company Canopy Growth Corp is some way away from paying off. Despite significant growth in net sales, investors have been left dissatisfied due to the changing share structure.
7. Shanxi Xinghuacun Fen Wine Factory US$48.91bn
Fen wine originates from Fenyang county in Shanxi province, Northern China. Based in Lüliang, Shanxi, the distiller was founded in 1949, the year the People’s Republic was established after the Communist victory in the Chinese Civil War. Indeed, the company has since jostled with other baijiu brands for the trademark of ‘China’s national spirit’.
6. Pernod Ricard US$54.16bn
With brands including Perrier-Jouët, Martell, Jameson, Havana Club, Absolut and Malibu, the Paris-headquartered company has come a long way since Pernod’s origins as an absinthe distiller. The French group has maintained a strong performance, despite uncertainty over Ukraine, inflation and Coronavirus. Earlier this year, the company agreed to the sale of Tormore Distillery in Speyside.
5. Wuliangye Yibin US$98.98bn
The third Chinese entry on this list, the company is headquartered in the city of Yibin, Szechuan (hence the name). Baijiu may not be especially well-known beyond China, but glasses have been brimming with the spirit since the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), perhaps even longer. Share values in baijiu companies have rocketed in recent years, a result partially attributed to a growing middle class having a thirst for the spirit. Chinese New Year is a key period for drinks sales, and though the last few years have not been without disruption, it appears that consumers are taking the Mandarin toast ‘ganbei’, meaning ‘dry cup/finish your drink’, rather literally.
4. Diageo US$116.05bn
Though the term ‘black gold’ usually refers to oil, it might well be a synonym for Guinness given the drink’s enormous international popularity – from the British Isles to Subsaharan Africa, though Guinness Cameroon was recently sold to Castel Group. But there’s more to Diageo than the instantly recognisable stout: Baileys, Johnnie Walker, Gordon’s and Smirnoff are some of the other brands which have propelled the UK-based company to where it is today, with US$19B of sales reported. The company’s zero alcohol alternatives are also starting to take off, with the opening of a new drinks lounge at Heathrow.
3. Anheuser-Busch InBev US$118.52bn
AB InBev is the Belgian company behind some of the world’s most recognisable beer brands: Budweiser, Modelo and Stella Artois, to name but a few. The world’s biggest brewery has certainly created big profits for some, including Brazilian billionaire Carlos Alberto Sicupira, who owns a 3% stake in the company and is the world’s 251st richest man. The company has not rested on its laurels/hops either, making headway into the emerging ready-to-drink beverage market.
2. Kweichow Moutai US$343.32bn
A difficult one to assess, as it is partially-owned by the Chinese state, but the company is believed to have US$40.04bn worth of assets and the highest market value for any company in the world purely involved in the alcohol industry. Its signature beverage is Moutai baijiu, a colourless spirit which is enormously popular in China – indeed, ice cream flavoured with the drink has also performed incredibly well. The company’s value has remained resilient in the face of restrictions imposed during the Coronavirus pandemic.
1. LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton US$346.8bn
High fashion and fine wine go hand in hand. To many, Louis Vuitton and Moët Hennessy are the first names that comes to mind when you think of ‘luxury’. In terms of drinks, the portfolio is popping with Champagne houses, including Krug, Dom Pérignon and Veuve Clicquot. There are also notable names in the world of still wine, such as Cloudy Bay, and spirits, like Volcan de mi Tierra and Glenmorangie. Though its brands are eclectically international, the company is making headway in China, despite the country’s increasing isolation – this success is part of what has put LVMH in the top spot.