Coke Classic Remains Top-Selling Soft Drink, New Coke Off Top Ten List
Dec. 07, 1989
NEW YORK (AP) _ Coca-Cola Classic was the best-selling soft drink in 1989, but the drink known as New Coke that was introduced to replace it in 1985 fell out of the Top Ten for the first time, according to rankings released Wednesday by an industry newsletter.
Beverage Digest said New Coke, which tied with RC Cola and Caffeine-Free Diet Pepsi for 10th place in 1988, failed to make the 10 top rankings in 1989.
Publisher Jesse Meyers said Caffeine-Free Diet Pepsi broke the tie this year, capturing 10th place with a 1.5 percent market share and leaving RC Cola and New Coke in a close fight for 11th at 1.4 percent each.
The Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Co. introduced New Coke in 1985, saying that it improved on the flavor of it regular cola. But the company said fans of the original Coca-Cola taste deluged the company with protests, and the company put the original drink back on the market three months later as Coca-Cola Classic.
New Coke was kept alive, but its share of market rapidly fell to the low single digits after capturing an estimated 15 percent of 1985 soft drink sales.
In 1989, Coca-Cola Classic retained the top ranking for the fourth consecutive year, although its market share fell to 20.0 percent from 20.1 percent in 1988.
Pepsi was second at 18.3 percent, down 0.4 percentage point from 1988.
Diet Coke placed third with 8.9 percent share of market, Diet Pepsi was fourth at 5.7 percent and Dr Pepper was fifth at 4.6 percent, according to Beverage Digest, published in Greenwich, Conn.
Filling out the rest of the Top Ten list were Sprite in sixth place at 3.6 percent, followed by Mountain Dew at 3.5 percent, 7Up at 2.9 percent and Caffeine-Free Diet Coke at 2.4 percent.
The retail value of the soft drink market is $43 billion, according to Meyers. That is up 2 percent from 1988, when sales rose 4.5 percent.
Meyers said the slower growth was due to cooler weather in many parts of the nation this past summer, a prime sales season for soft drinks.
He noted that the four diet soft drinks in the Top Ten this year had combined market share growth of 1.7 percentage points, while the six sugared products saw their combined market share fall 0.3 percent.
''We are watching our calories,'' he said. He said diet soft drinks are gaining ground in part because people like the taste and because the soft drink makers are offering diet drinks in more forms than ever.
Counting all soft drinks sold by individual companies, Coca-Cola commanded the biggest corporate share of the industry in 1989 with 41.1 percent, up from 40.5 percent a year earlier, the rankings indicated.
Pepsi-Cola was second in corporate share of the soft drink business at 31.1 percent, up 0.4 percentage point from 1988.
Dr Pepper-Seven Up ranks a distant third with a 10 percent corporate share of the market, according to the Beverage Digest rankings. Cadbury Beverages was fourth at 3.1 percent and Royal Crown was fifth at 2.8 percent.