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Drink Tank

Grab a cold one and read on to uncover the latest trends in the beverage industry.

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This story appears in the January 2002 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

In an era when a beverage's claim to fame is twice as much caffeine, and milk is going carbonated, it's hard to believe the next big thing is . . . water. According to Beverage Marketing Corp. of New York City, water is the fastest-growing major U.S. beverage category, expected to surpass coffee and milk to take second in volume only to soft drinks by 2004.

Now you've got four companies dominating the bottled water market-Pepsi, Danone, Coke and Perrier Group of America-but that's where the twist comes in. According to John Rodwan, editorial director for Beverage Marketing Corp., you're expecting too much if you're shooting for No. 1, but there's a good chance your product can attain underdog status and significant sales if you either try for regional success by touting the water's source, or add a special something-an ingredient or other element-to plain old water. Rodwan expects enhanced water fortified with calcium, caffeine or added flavors to grow "very, very quickly" this year. But he's not sure whether, over the long term, "that's going to satisfy consumers when they simply want water-or if it's an area that's just a little too peculiar."

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