Webster's defines a beverage simply as a drinkable liquid. We drink beverages to satisfy our thirst, for enjoyment, for psychological reward, for ceremony or celebration, and for nutrition. The proliferation of beverage choices was most likely driven by curiosity at first, but now seems to be more profit driven. We have beverages for all occasions: to stimulate us in the morning, to calm us down at night, to sooth our physical maladies, to celebrate holidays and special occasions, and to perform religious ceremonies. There are ethnic drinks identified with specific cultures, sports drinks for strenuous exercise, health drinks for improved nutrition, and even astronaut drinks developed for space travel. See Table 1 for a list of the popular categories available in the U.S. market. There are two common measures of beverage sales and consumption: liquid volume and retail sales in dollars. These measures can rank beverages quite differently because some beverages are very expensive per unit volume. For instance, alcoholic beverages including beer, wine, and distilled spirits, account for almost half of the beverage dollars spent by consumers, but only comprise about 15% of the volume sold.
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