According to the Forbes 2017 Largest Companies Global 2000 list, PepsiCo Inc. (PEP), Coca Cola Co. (KO), and Anheuser-Bush InBev (BUD) are the top three beverage companies in the world, as measured by a composite score of revenue, profit, assets and market value

Soda Giants Retain Top Ranking

The top 5 companies in the beverage sector had a combined market value of $649.6 billion. These companies, a combination of soft drink and alcoholic beverages, all ranked within the world's top 380 biggest companies, with Pepsi coming in at an admirable #84, and Coca Cola trailing at #86. The other firms in the top five serve alcoholic drinks, including beer-maker Anheuser-Bush, Johnnie Walker owner Diageo (DEO), and Heineken (HEINY).

It's clear that Pepsi and Coke are industry leaders; both have treasure troves of brands that are served in millions upon millions of restaurants around the world, and have worldwide cultural recognition. Although both companies have seen declining sales, it would still seem that these two  are the unopposed kings of the beverage industry, but a new contender may be about to emerge.

A Caffeinated Challenger Approaches

In January of 2018, it was announced that Keurig Green Mountain Inc., makers of the K-cup, would be merging with Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc (DPS) to create a new public company known as Keurig Dr Pepper. This new company would be large enough to pose a real threat to Pepsi and Coke, as it would combine DPS's popular brands like 7Up and Snapple with the incredibly popular Keurig family of products. 

DPS already is fairly large, with a market value of $17.7 billion in 2017, but the merger could propel it to become a real challenger to the Coke/Pepsi throne, with some key additions to the firm's portfolio. 

With this merger, Keurig owners JAB Holdings will add another brand to an already impressive collection, which includes Peet's Coffee, Einstein brothers, Krispy Kreme, Panera Bread, Au Bon Pain, and more. As JAB is a private company, it isn't required to release financials. However, in June of 2017 the company announced its investment in food and beverage companies was valued at €2 billion, with a dividend income of €21.1 million. 

Alcohol Firms 

Not to be outdone by their caffeinated competitors, Alcoholic beverage companies are responsible for a large percent of the beverage sector. Molson Coors Brewing Co. (TAP) experienced a notable jump on the Global 2000 list to No. 654 from No. 1280 due to its recent acquisition of SABMiller’s 58% stake in MillerCoors. The deal was related to SAB’s merger with AB InBev and resulted in turning Molson Coors into the world’s third-largest brewer. (See also: The New Plan from Coca-Cola's New CEO.) 

Another rock star in the alcoholic field includes Diageo, the world's largest purveyor of wine and spirits. The Johnnie Walker maker reported net sales of £6.5 billion for the half year ended on Dec 31, 2017, up 1.7% from the previous year. Other giants in the sector include Heineken Holding, who reported a $23 billion market value in 2016, and Mexican Coca-Cola bottler Femsa.