Special Report

World’s 15 Most Valuable Alcohol Companies

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It will probably come as no surprise that the COVID-19 pandemic has been good for the alcoholic beverage trade. We’re anxious, depressed, stuck at home — and increasingly able to get beer, wine, spirits, and even pre-made cocktails delivered to our door. Among other things, many jurisdictions now allow restaurants to include alcohol in their takeout orders — and Uber recently paid $1.1 billion for the alcohol-delivery service Drizly. (That’s just one of the ways that the coronavirus impacts what and how we drink.)

Data collected by the RAND Corporation, the journal Psychiatry Research, and other authorities shows that overall alcohol consumption has increased nationwide and that online ordering is a growth industry. And financial analyses reveal that most of the world’s major alcohol production companies are doing very well.

The finance blog Insider Monkey has just published a list of the 15 most valuable alcohol companies based on market cap (capitalization) — the value of each company’s outstanding shares.

Seven of these are based in Asia, with three of them profiting primarily from the sale of a beverage most Americans have never tasted, and may not even have heard of: baijiu, a grain-based clear liquor whose sales exceed those of vodka, whisky, or any other spirit worldwide.

Only three of the most valuable 15 are headquartered in the U.S., and one of those sells more tobacco than alcohol. Seven of the companies are known primarily for beer, including one enterprise that sells several of the most popular beer brands in America.

Whatever their specialties and wherever they’re from, these 15 alcoholic beverage producers are responsible for some of the most famous brand names in their whole intoxicating — and profitable — industry.

Click here to see the world’s 15 most valuable alcohol companies.

15. Tsingtao Brewery Co Ltd. (OTC: TSGTF)
> Headquarters: Qingdao, China
> Market cap: $15.23 billion
> Assets: $4.5 billion

Founded by transplanted Bavarian brewers in 1903 in the eastern coastal province of Shandong, Tsingtao now produces beer in about 60 facilities all over the country. Its revenue in the third quarter of 2020 reached $1.264 billion. Among Chinese breweries, only China Resources Beer (see No. 11) brought in more.

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14. Kirin Holdings (OTC: KNBWY)
> Headquarters: Tokyo, Japan
> Market cap: $16.8 billion
> Assets: $22.2 billion

Japan’s second-largest brewery (after Asahi; see No. 13), Kirin dates its origins back to one founded in 1869 by a Norwegian-American entrepreneur in Yokohama. Besides its two main beers, Kirin Lager and Ichiban Shibori, the company — a member of the Mitsubishi Group — also owns soft drink, restaurant, real estate, agribio businesses, and other enterprises.

13. Asahi (OTC: ASBRF)
> Headquarters: Tokyo, Japan
> Market cap: $21.7 billion
> Assets: $28.9 billion

Japan’s largest brewery, with a market share of more than 35%, Asahi markets at least half a dozen varieties of beer under its own label. In 2016, the company bought Italy’s Peroni, Holland’s Grolsch, and several other breweries from Anheuser-Busch InBev.

12. Carlsberg (OTC: CABGY)
> Headquarters: Copenhagen, Denmark
> Market cap: $24.5 billion
> Assets: $18.5 billion

Reporting revenue of $2.01 billion for the fourth quarter of last year, Carlsberg produces beer (including non-alcoholic varieties) and distributes in all over Europe and beyond. Besides its eponymous brews, the company owns Tuborg, Kronenbourg 1664, and numerous other brands. It is said to market more than 500 different beers in all.

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11. China Resources Beer (OTC: CRHKF)
> Headquarters: Hong Kong, Hong Kong
> Market cap: $28.73 billion
> Assets: $6 billion

China Resources, whose best-known brew is Snow — representing about a fifth of all the beer sold in China — is a subsidiary of China Resources Holdings Company Ltd., a conglomerate owned by the Chinese government. At the end of 2020’s second quarter, the brewery reported revenue of $2.4 billion.

10. Brown-Forman
> Headquarters: Louisville, Kentucky
> Market cap: $34.98 billion
> Assets: $5.5 billion

With about 40 wine, spirits, and pre-made cocktail brands – including Jack Daniel’s whiskey, El Jimador tequila, and Chambord liqueur – the company reported net fourth-quarter sales of $709 million last year, down 4% from the same quarter in 2019.

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9. Constellation Brands (NYSE: STZ)
> Headquarters: Victor, New York
> Market cap: $43.12 billion
> Assets: $$27.3 billion

Among the scores of wine, beer, and spirits brands owned by Constellation are Robert Mondavi, Kim Crawford, Ruffino, The Prisoner, Corona, Pacifico, Negra Modelo, Svedka vodka, and Casa Noble tequila. In November last year, Constellation reported a 21.94% revenue increase year-over-year since 20198, amounting to $2.4 billion.

8. Jiangsu Yanghe Brewery Joint-Stock Co., Ltd. (SHE: 002304.SZ)
> Headquarters: Suqian, China
> Market cap: $46.42 billion
> Assets: $7.3 billion

This massive Chinese enterprise produces beer, wine, and spirits under a number of labels. Its best-known products are Yanghe and Shuanggou brand baijiu — a spirit distilled from sorghum and sometimes other grains, considered the best-selling liquor in the world. The company’s fourth-quarter revenue last year was $368 million.

7. Pernod Ricard (OTC: PDRDY)
> Headquarters: Paris, France
> Market cap: $50.75 billion
> Assets: $36.8 billion

Pernor and Ricard are two popular anise-based French liquors, but the company that bears their name owns scores of wine and spirits brands around the globe. Among the most famous are Mumm and Perrier-Jouët champagne, Absolut vodka, Martell cognac, Beefeater gin, Jameson Irish whiskey, Chivas Regal and Ballentine’s scotch, and Malibu rum. The company’s revenue fell 36.2% in the fourth quarter, apparently as a result of COVID-19.

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6. Heineken N.V. (AMS: HEIA.AS)
> Headquarters: Amsterdam, Netherlands
> Market cap: $59.92 billion
> Assets: $52.2 billion

Heineken beer itself, known globally for its distinctive green bottle, is one of the world’s best-selling brews. This Dutch-based company, however, also produces such international favorites as Amstel, Sol, Tiger, Moretti, and Lagunitas. It announced full-year 2020 revenue of $28.6 billion.

5. Altria Group Inc. (NYSE: MO)
> Headquarters: Richmond, Virginia
> Market cap: $82.31 billion
> Assets: $52.6 billion

Altria is better-known for its cigarettes than its beverages. (It owns Philip Morris USA — Marlboro, Parliament, Virginia Slims, etc. — and is the country’s largest tobacco company.) However, it also owns Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, whose brands, besides Washington state’s Château Ste. Michelle, include California’s Villa Mt. Eden and Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars. It also partners with such worldwide brands as Antinori, Villa Maria, and Nicolas Feuillatte. Fourth-quarter revenue for the company last year was $6.3 million.

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4. Diageo Plc (NYSE: DEO)
> Headquarters: London, United Kingdom
> Market cap: $97.06 billion
> Assets: $42 billion

Many of the world’s most famous champagne, wine, and spirits brands belong to this British firm. Moët & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot, Cloudy Bay, Johnnie Walker, Hennessy, Ron Zacapa, and Belvedere are just some of its best-known offerings. Diageo’s net sales for the last half of 2020 came to £6.9 billion (about $9.6 billion).

3. Anheuser-Busch InBev (NYSE: BUD)
> Headquarters: Leuven, Belgium
> Market cap: $127.37 billion
> Assets: $238.3 billion

This brewing powerhouse controls roughly 30% of all beer sales internationally by volume, thanks in large part to Budweiser, the world’s most popular beer brand. Its other labels include Michelob, Rolling Rock, and Busch. The company’s third-quarter revenue for 2020 was $12.816 billion.

2. Wuliangye Yibin Co. Ltd. (SHE: 000858
> Headquarters: Yibin, China
> Market cap: $189 billion
> Assets: $14.9 billion

Most Americans have never tasted baijiu, the sorghum-based Chinese spirit, but it is by far the best-selling liquor in the world, with sales almost double those of the next largest category (whisky/whiskey). Wuliangye, produced in Sichuan province, averages around $6.1 billion in annual revenue — and virtually all its sales are within China.

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1. Kweichow Moutai Co. Ltd. (SHA: 600519)
> Headquarters: Renhuai, China
> Market cap: $449.5 billion
> Assets: $25.6 billion

This popular brand of baijiu — the sorghum-based Chinese specialty that is the world’s best-selling liquor category — is itself the world’s most valuable spirit brand, according to the trade publication The Spirits Business. Though Moutai’s popularity is growing abroad, about 97% of its sales are within China. The company reported revenue of $10.39 billion for the first three quarters of last year.

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