BevNET's Best of 2011 Awards's Best of 2011

This year's field for BevNET's ninth annual “Best of” awards was quite strong, with many of the best efforts coming in the second half of the year.

The awards served as something of a reference map for the developing beverage landscape as well as a way for the winners to strut their stuff. By looking across all of the entries, we can see some interesting trends:

“Energy” was again the most dominant function across all of the entries. With the energy drink market experiencing double digit growth in 2011 and 5-Hour Energy making its way to the $1 billion mark, it's no surprise that another new wave of entries has hit the market. But the awards came in all shapes and sizes and formulations that didn't just fit into the traditional energy drink and shot buckets-- they comprised a host of hybrids in just about every category, including coffee, juice, dairy, and tea.

The overall Health and Wellness trend continues to guide product innovation, and it's one of the key reasons that entrepreneurs have launched new entries in once obscure beverage categories like kombucha, chia, and aloe. While all of these categories are just getting started, this year's Best of 2011 awards were given to a few of the brands playing in those areas, and we expect to see big things from them in years to come.

One reason the emergence of these brands is so relevant is reflected in another key trend we can't forget about: coconut water. Growing from its humble beginnings a few years back to a now $350 million estimated in retail sales, coconut water, like energy, has found its way into every category (including energy, we might add) and the product launches show no signs of slowing down. And it's impact on our awards was substantial, with several of the top awards (including Product of the Year and Person of the Year) going to the two leading brands, Vita Coco and ZICO.

2011 was a year where refreshment beverages -- CSDs, teas, juices, and water -- seemed to get back on track. All of these categories saw growth, either overall or in specific segments or channels. In fact, we seemed to see more new tea, juice, and CSD brands come to market in 2011 than any other year since BevNET's Best Of awards started.

In any event, congratulations to our 18 winners -- and good luck to those of you launching products in 2012!

Product of the Year
ZICO Chocolate
Person of the Year
Michael Kirban
Best Functional Beverage
Best Energy Drink or Shot
Monster Rehab
Best Relaxation Drink or Shot
Dream Water Shot
Best Non Carbonated Beverage
Mamma Chia
Best Carbonated Soft Drink
Best Tea or Tea Based
GT's Synergy Kombucha Chia Flavors
Best Juice or Juice Based
Jamba Daily Superfruit Shots
Best Sports or Hydration
Greater Than
Best Smoothie or Meal Replacement
Greater Than
Best Product Revamp
Deluxe Honeydrop
Best New Powder, Tablet, Mix
Kraft MiO
Best Enhanced Water
Aloe Gloe
Best Packaging Design
Stumptown Cold Brew
Best Packaging Innovation
Best Marketing - Traditional
Vita Coco
Best Marketing - Social or interactive
The Coca-Cola Company