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Bacchus lovers rejoice, Carlsberg brings ‘super premium beer’ to India

24-September-2007
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Bacchus lovers rejoice, Carlsberg brings ‘super premium beer’ to India

The world-famous Oktoberfest got underway in Munich, but beer lovers in India don’t have to travel abroad to sip their favourite suds. Danish brewer Carlsberg has uncorked its all-malt premium beer in the country. The company wants to create a new market here by establishing the super premium beer category. The 160-year-old beer brand, which is among the top five brands in the world today, is now present in 141 markets, including India.

In India, Carlsberg is operating through South Asia Breweries Pvt Ltd, a 100 per cent FDI and a joint venture between Carlsberg Breweries, Industrial Fund for Developing Countries (IFU) by the Danish government, and a group of investors.

Carlsberg has its presence in Western and Eastern Europe, and Asia. While the company views the Western Europe market as a mature one, the latter two are seen as growing and emerging markets, respectively. Western Europe contributes to the company’s maximum profits, while Eastern Europe contributes 40 per cent. The Asian market contributes a mere 10 per cent of the company’s profits, but the market has also seen a 20 per cent growth in the sale of beer since 2006. According to Jesper B Madsen, Senior VP, Carlsberg Asia, and Chairman, South Asia Breweries, by 2020 or before, India would overtake Japan as Asia’s largest beer consumer.

The company already has 26 breweries across Asia, and is setting up two new breweries in India – one each in Alwar in Rajasthan and Aurangabad in Maharashtra. These two breweries will be operational from 2008. Besides, it has also acquired Himneel Brewery in Himachal Pradesh. The company might acquire more companies in India to bring the Carlsberg portfolio of 300 brands here, as also acquiring more green fields. The company has about 60 brands in Asia alone, and has plans to develop local homegrown brands.

According to Joakim Sande, Marketing Director, South Asia Breweries, “The super premium beer category falls between the imported beer and the premium beer segments. We are targetting the urban male in the age group of 25-35 years, who knows what he wants, and Delhi is the appropriate market for us. By the end of the current year, we are looking to launch our beer in all the four metro cities and in next two to three years, it would be available across the country.”

Carlsberg beer has been priced a little higher than the usual crop available here – the 650 ml bottle is priced at Rs 60, while the 330 ml bottle is priced at Rs 35. The company plans to undertake an extensive launch programme, and will have interaction with its target audience at specific locations. Since the company has been associated in a major way with soccer for three decades, it has plans for the same t in India too, as also being associated with other entertainment events. The company has roped in Lowe as its creative agency, while Initiative Media will handle its media duties.

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