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Bottlers should expect no relief from exploding SKU proliferation in 1995. Carbonated soft drink growth will be in the 2 percent to 3 percent range in 1995, predicts Bill Leach, beverage analyst with Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette. In beer, don't expect more than a 1 percent increase, led by premiums, specialty brews and imports.
The strong growth that led to this year's estimated 5 to 6 percent soft drink sales increase will be stemmed early in the year by price boosts in packaging and raw ingredients, Leach and others predict.
However, Roy Burry, beverage analyst with Kidder Peabody, New York City, says the strength of the new age category will keep the whole soft drink business growing at a 4 percent rate in '95.
"You've got some real growth vehicles out there," Burry says. "There will be price increases," he agrees, "but not enough to hold (growth) to 2 to 3 percent."
Indeed, analysts see plenty of growth ahead for premium private label brands, tea, water and sports drinks.
Cott Beverages, despite its upper …