The 4 Best Beverage Brands of 2013

Consultancy firm Interbrand annually bestows top honors to the best global brands. Here are the top nonalcoholic beverage brands for 2013:

Company

Brands (Ranking) in the Top 100

Company Market Capitalization

Coca-Cola
(NYSE: KO  )

Coca-Cola (3)
Sprite (69)

$168 billion

PepsiCo
(NYSE: PEP  )

Pepsi (22)

$125 billion

Starbucks
(NASDAQ: SBUX  )

Starbucks (91)

$59 billion

Sources: Interbrand, Yahoo! Finance.

Impressively, both Coca-Cola and Pepsi have secured spots on the Best Global Brands list since its 2001 inception. Coca-Cola retained the coveted No. 1 spot from 2001 through last year. However, the world's strongest beverage brand slipped two spots, to No. 3 this year. On the other hand, Pepsi has jumped an impressive 22 spots since 2001, from No. 44 to its current No. 22. Both Sprite and Starbucks have actually lost ground on the list during the past several years. Sprite didn't make the list until 2010, when it debuted at No. 61. Meanwhile, Starbucks has dropped three spots, from No. 88 in 2001 to No. 91 this year. 

In the past year, Pepsi and Starbucks enjoyed the biggest gains, with each brand value soaring 8% since 2012. Pepsi's large gain might be a result of its heightened focus on the consumer experience through its intensified marketing campaigns, and hiring of the company's first chief design officer. Meanwhile, Starbucks may attribute its gain to the company's growing international presence as well as its recent acquisitions, including Teavana teas, Evolution Fresh juices, and La Boulange baked goods. By comparison, brand values of both Coca-Cola and Sprite increased by a more modest 2% during the past year.

Do top global brands equal happy shareholders?
The three companies behind these brands have returned stellar profits to their stockholders over the course of their publicly traded lives. However, only coffee giant Starbucks -- returning roughly 44% -- has edged out the S&P 500's 21% year-to-date return. By comparison, PepsiCo and Coca-Cola have returned 20% and 6%, respectively, during that same period. 

Yet, when we look at performance over a longer period of time, all three of these beverage makers have handily outperformed the overall stock market.

KO Total Return Price Chart

KO Total Return Price data by YCharts. 

Starbucks, Coca-Cola, and PepsiCo returned roughly 433%, 123%, and 113%, respectively, over the past decade. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 returned just shy of 99% during that same period.

Foolish final thoughts
The three companies behind these brands boast a combined 270 years of experience, with Starbucks -- founded in 1985 -- being the youngest of the companies mentioned. The endurance of these companies, coupled with their respective brand strengths, has helped them build worldwide exposure. And it appears to be keeping their long-term shareholders happy, too.

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