The year that was: Headlines of 2016

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT

It's been an action-packed year for the beverage world. Here are some of the highlights. (Pic:iStock/marekuliasz)
It's been an action-packed year for the beverage world. Here are some of the highlights. (Pic:iStock/marekuliasz)

Related tags Ab inbev Pepsi

From mergers and acquisitions to innovations in packaging and flavors, we take a look back over some of the headlines of 2016. 


  • Pernod Ricard acquires majority share in gin brand Monkey 47.​ Monkey 47 is produced in the Black Forest, and was introduced in Germany in 2010.
  • Coca-Cola Great Britain announces a new recipe for stevia-sweetened Coca-Cola Life,​ with the 330ml cans now containing 76 calories and 19g of sugar (45% less than the regular full calorie flagship drink)
  • Samuel Adams launches three nitro beers​ in the US as part of the Samuel Adams Nitro Project. They are: Nitro White Ale, Nitro IPA and Nitro Coffee Stout. 


  • US-bottled-water-sales-reach-record-high-in-2015-Mintel_strict_xxl
    Mintel research reveals that US bottled water sales reached a record high in 2015.​ It predicts continued rapid growth through to 2020, with sales growth of 34.7%.
  • Japan’s Asahi Group Holdings bids for Peroni, Grolsch and Meantime in Europe (the SABMiller brands having been put up for sale as part of AB InBev’s acquisition of SABMiller). AB InBev accepts the offer​ in April.
  • Coca-Cola reveals secondary packaging that can be turned into virtual reality viewers.


  • PepsiCo-PepsiMoji-campaign-creative-and-personal-packaging_strict_xxl
    AB InBev says it will sell the SABMiller stake in Snow​ (the world’s top selling beer) to China Resources Beer. 
  • PepsiCo says it will roll out its ‘PepsiMoji’ campaign​ to more than 100 markets (Pepsimoji is the campaign using emojis on its Pepsi packaging). The PepsiMoji campaign includes the designs across the full Pepsi portfolio, including Pepsi, Pepsi MAX and Diet Pepsi/Pepsi Light. 


  • In the US, Anheuser-Busch acquires Devils Backbone Brewing Company,​ a craft brewer based in Virginia.
  • Coca-Cola launches new packaging​ as part of its ‘one brand’ marketing strategy, with Mexico the first market to use the packaging. Other markets are following in 2016 and 2017.





  • Texas craft brewers celebrate​ after a judge rules a 2013 distribution rights law (which required breweries to give up distribution and territorial rights) is unconstitutional. 
  • The beverage industry in South Africa says a proposed tax on sugar-sweetened beverages threatens thousands of livelihoods and economic growth.​ South Africa’s proposal for a 20% tax on sugar sweetened beverages was announced in the February 2016 Budget, with the policy paper released in July. 


  • Carlsberg reveals a physical protoype of its Green Fiber Bottle​ in what it hails as a ‘milestone’ breakthrough following an ‘ambitious’ three-year project.
  • A Carlsberg UK video is banned by the UK’s advertising standards authority for linking alcohol with a building site,​ ‘an unsafe and unwise location in which to consume alcohol’.


  • Megabrew: Anheuser-Busch InBev announces the successful completion​ of its takeover of SABMiller, a process that took a year to complete.
  • PepsiCo sets sugar reduction targets:​ by 2025, at least two-thirds of PepsiCo’s beverages will have 100 calories or fewer from added sugar per 12oz serving.
  • Coca-Cola-Ginger-launches-in-Australia_strict_xxl
    Coca-Cola Ginger launches​ in Australia.


  • In Scotland, the drinks industry (led by the Scotch Whisky Association) applies to appeal in the UK Supreme Court against Scotland’s plans for minimum unit pricing (MUP)​ for alcoholic beverages. 
  • PepsiCo acquires KeVita,​ a North American company that produces fermented probiotic and kombucha beverages. 
  • Dr Pepper Snapple Group acquires Bai Brands,​ a US company known for its antioxidant-infused beverages, for $1.7bn. 


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