The beverage industry consists of two major categories and eight sub-groups. The non-alcoholic category is comprised of soft drink syrup manufacture; soft drink and water bottling and canning; fruit juices bottling, canning and boxing; the coffee industry and the tea industry. Alcoholic beverage categories include distilled spirits, wine and brewing.

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Evolution Of Industry

Although many of these beverages, including beer, wine and tea, have been around for thousands of years, the industry has developed only over the past few centuries.

The beverage products industry, viewed as an aggregate group, is highly fragmented. This is evident by the number of manufacturers, methods of packaging, production processes and final products. The soft drink industry is the exception to the rule, as it is quite concentrated. Although the beverage industry is fragmented, ongoing consolidation since the 1970s is changing that.

Since the early 1900s beverage companies have evolved from regional firms that mainly produced goods for local markets, to today’s corporate giants that make products for international markets. This shift began when companies in this manufacturing sector adopted mass production techniques that let them expand. Also during this time period there were advances in product packaging and processes that greatly increased product shelf life. Air-tight containers for tea prevented absorption of moisture, which is the principle cause of loss of flavour. In addition, the advent of refrigeration equipment enabled lager beers to be brewed during the summer months.