Anheuser-Busch, a subsidiary of AB InBev, will offer ShineWater, a ready-to-drink hydration beverage containing 100 percent of the daily required vitamin D, through its distribution network (AB One), the firm stated in a statement. ShineWater refused to provide any more financial information regarding the transaction, including if Anheuser-Busch invested in the firm. 

The agreement will broaden ShineWater’s geographic reach on the West Coast, in the Northeast, and in Oklahoma, allowing the beverage to be offered at retailers that stock Anheuser-Busch goods. 

Vitamin D water is the latest food and beverage business to capitalize on the functional trend, as customers want more than just nutrition or refreshment from the items they buy and consume. 

As AB InBev, Molson Coors, and others battled with falling beer sales, they turned to other beverages to offer a foundation for future development — many of which were outside the alcohol sector they were intimately familiar with. 

For example, Molson Coors has invested in Huzzah, a full-flavored seltzer with additional probiotics; Golden Wing, a grain-based milk substitute enriched with protein and minerals; and Zoa, positioned as an above-premium energy drink with natural ingredients, vitamins, electrolytes, and amino acids. 

Anheuser-Busch has historically used its existing sales and distribution network to sell and distribute third-party goods. Beatbox, a wine and RTD drink company, and Amino Energy + Electrolytes, a nutritional supplement, are among them. As businesses like AB InBev want to expand, it makes sense for them to use their extensive distribution networks to enhance sales and experiment with offers that would otherwise be outside of their normal scope. 

The firm describes Anheuser-network Busch’s distributors as an “essential asset” that allows the country’s largest brewer to trial new consumer products before expanding the most promising ones to its broader wholesaler system. 

“We’re focusing on growing and developing within our beyond beer portfolio to meet [the consumer’s] evolving needs,” said Scott King, vice president of markets for Anheuser-AB Busch’s One. 

The agreement to sell ShineWater is unlikely to result in a significant increase in AB InBev’s revenues, but it demonstrates the firm’s progress toward becoming more than just an alcohol corporation. ShineWater benefits from the collaboration by gaining rapid access to new markets through the beer giant’s extensive distribution network. ShineWater altered its branding and distribution approach in early 2020, resulting in a 10-fold boost in sales across the United States, according to the business. 

Other firms, in addition to beer manufacturers, have noticed an increase in customer demand for items having a functional advantage. 

All Market, Vita Coco’s parent business, announced this summer that it is entering a new category of functional beverages with the launch of Pwr Lift protein-infused waters. Last year, PepsiCo introduced Driftwell, a functional water targeted at reducing stress and encouraging relaxation.

Nestlé, the food and beverage conglomerate, has moved rapidly to enter the functional drinks market with a series of initiatives. Its most recent acquisition was in March, when it paid an undisclosed sum for Essentia Water, a manufacturer of ionized alkaline water. Ocean Spray has also created a functional water brand called B1U, which clearly displays the titles of each functional mix — I need a boost, I need rhythm, I need immunity, and I need power — on the bottle. 

The fact that firms are attempting to enter this market is expected given the shift in consumer behavior and the subsequent rise in sales. According to Statista, retail sales of improved bottled water alone are expected to reach $5.3 billion in 2022, up from $4.11 billion in 2014.

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