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    The Buzz on Energy Drinks

    Sales of the caffeinated beverages have grown 61 percent this year, making them the fastest growing sector of the domestic beverage industry.

    Caffeinated energy drinks have become the fastest-growing sector of the $93 billion domestic beverage industry. According to Beverage Digest, sales of energy drinks, which retail for $2 to $3 a can, have grown 61 percent this year in the United States.

    Energy drinks, which have become a $3 billion business since their introduction in the U.S. eight years ago, are expected to accelerate profit growth for the beverage industry more than any other drink category in the next few years. Sales of regular soda, meanwhile, are unchanged or declining in the U.S. and major markets worldwide.

    "The energy drink category came out of nowhere," John Sicher, publisher of Beverage Digest, told The New York Times . "It's been a pleasant surprise for the industry."

    According to estimates Coca-Cola executives presented to analysts this summer, the additional industry wide profits that will come from energy products in the four years from 2005 through 2008 will total $540 million, compared with $210 million for regular soft drinks, $130 million for bottled water and $290 million for sports drinks.

    Coke this year introduced Full Throttle, and recently announced plans to revamp the 1970's brand Tab as an energy drink aimed at women. The company will also start selling a caffeinated version of its Powerade sports drink, the report said.

    PepsiCo, which owns the SoBe No Fear and Adrenaline Rush brands through its 2001 acquisition of the South Beach Beverage Co., will start selling Mountain Dew MDX, an extra-caffeinated version of Mountain Dew.

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