SCHAUMBURG, Ill. -- Beverages accounted for three of the five fastest-growing food and beverage categories in 2001, according to a recent study by ACNielsen here. Prepared alcoholic beverages, which include "malternatives" such as Smirnoff Ice and Mike's Hard Lemonade, topped the list with a volume-growth rate of 33%. Water and drinkable dairy-based products were also represented, witnessing 13% and 12% growth, respectively. "For several years, beverage companies had been relying primarily ...

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