One of the world's largest beer brewers is seeing growth in a surprising area

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While American customers know SABMiller best for beverages like Keystone and Coors Light, sales of MillerCoor's beers in the US are on the decline. However, international soda consumption — especially in Africa — is helping drive growth for the beverage company.

SABMiller beat analyst predictions in the third quarter, reporting a 7% growth in underlying sales. The company, which is the second biggest brewer in the world, is in the process of being acquired by AB InBev (the world's largest brewer), a deal that is anticipated to close in the second half of 2016.

Despite its status as a giant in the world of beer, nonalcoholic beverages are a major area of growth for the company.

Soft drinks increased 8% by volume, with especially impressive growth in Africa, where volumes increased 13%. In South Africa, soft drinks volumes grew 21%, which the company attributed to warmer weather and the growth of its still beverages portfolio.

SABMiller is one of the biggest bottlers of Coca-Cola products worldwide, and a key Coke bottler in Africa. In 2014, the company formed Coca-Cola Beverages Africa, which serves 12 countries and accounts for about 40% of Coke beverage volume in the continent.

The company's focus on soft drinks outside of the US has been a business boon, as globally soda consumption continues to rise, even if it is falling in the US.

Also falling in the US: sales of major beer brands like Coors, Miller, and Keystone. In the North American market, Coors Light and Miller Lite sales to retailers experienced low single digit decreases, while Keystone declined high single digits.

Bottling has long been an important part of beer companies' business, as AB InBev is a key PepsiCo bottler in Latin America. With soft drinks boosting SABMiller's sales and years of rumors that AB InBev may one day acquire Coke, the merging of two Big Beer legends will likely also have a major impact on the soft drink industry.

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Related: Coca-Cola throughout the years.

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One of the world's largest beer brewers is seeing growth in a surprising area
The Atlanta based Coca-Cola Co., announced in New York Tuesday April 23, 1985 file photo a change in the 99 year old secret formula for the soft drink. This collection details the history of shapes of the soft drink's bottles. Sold at fountains in Atlanta at the start it was first bottled in Vicksburg, Mississippi. (AP Photo)
UNITED STATES - CIRCA 1950s: Teenaged girl with bottle of Coca-Cola. (Photo by George Marks/Retrofile/Getty Images)
(GERMANY OUT) *23.03.1912-16.06.1977+Physiker, Raketenforscher, D/USA- Porträt mit Coca-Cola-Flasche- 1963 (Photo by ullstein bild/ullstein bild via Getty Images)
The bottles of Coca-Cola are shown May 5, 1986. (AP Photo/Joe Holloway, Jr.)
FRANCE - MAY 01: Centenary of Coca-Cola In France In May, 1986. (Photo by Didier CONTANT/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
The bottle used by Coca-Cola for export to France, stands by the prototype of the very first Coke bottle shown May 5, 1986 in Atlanta, Ga. (AP Photo/Joe Holloway, Jr.)
BOHOL, PHILIPPINES - 1988/01/01: A lemur clings to a coke bottle. . (Photo by Roland Neveu/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Bottles of Coca-Cola, Tab, and Sprite on the shelf of a grocery store in New York City, USA, September 1988. (Photo by Barbara Alper/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO - JANUARY 16: Bottles of Coca-Cola are seen on the shelf at Tower Market January 16, 2004 in San Francisco, California. Coca-Cola is being investigated by U.S. regulators over allegations raised by a former employee that it had inflated its earnings. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO - JANUARY 16: Cans of Coca-Cola are seen on the shelf at Tower Market January 16, 2004 in San Francisco, California. Coca-Cola is being investigated by U.S. regulators over allegations raised by a former employee that it had inflated its earnings. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 20: Bottles of Coca-Cola and Diet Coke are displayed on a shelf in an Associated Supermarket in New York Thursday, October 20, 2005. Coca-Cola Co. said third-quarter profit surged 37 percent, the biggest gain in more than a year, as sales rebounded in the U.S. and demand for Powerade sports (Photo by Ramin Talaie/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
PARK RIDGE, IL - NOVEMBER 07: 2-Liter bottles of Vanilla Coke as seen in a grocery store November 7, 2005 in Park Ridge, Illinois. Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Co. has said it plans to discontinue its Vanilla Coke in the US by the end of the year. (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 19: A general view of the new aluminum Coca-Cola bottle at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Fall 2009 Collections at Bryant Park on February 19, 2009 in New York City (Photo by Donald Bowers/Getty Images for The Coca Cola Company)
Bottles of Coca-Cola Co.'s Coke brand soda sit on a shelf behind the bar at Smith & Wollensky in New York, U.S., on Monday, Feb. 22, 2010. Coca-Cola Co., the world's biggest soda maker, agreed to buy the North American operations of bottler Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc., more than six months after PepsiCo Inc. moved to bring its bottlers in-house to cut costs. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A Coca-Cola bottle is displayed during a preview of the High Museum's new exhibit, "The Coca-Cola Bottle: An American Icon at 100", Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015, in Atlanta. The exhibit, opening Feb. 28, explores the iconic design and creative legacy of the familiar soda bottle as art. (AP Photo/Branden Camp)
A piece by artist Andy Warhol, left, is displayed next to a case of Coca-Cola bottles at the High Museum's new exhibit, "The Coca-Cola Bottle: An American Icon at 100", Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015, in Atlanta. The exhibit, opening Feb. 28, explores the iconic design and creative legacy of the familiar soda bottle as art. (AP Photo/Branden Camp)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 19: Rita Ora attends photocall to celebrates 100 years of the Coca-Cola Contour Bottle at the Coca-Cola Contour Centenary Bar on March 19, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Marsland/WireImage)
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