We will strengthen product portfolio across craft beer segment: Gurpreet Singh, UBL

Gurpreet Singh, Head - Marketing, United Breweries Ltd, talks about the idea behind introducing Witbier under the brand’s Ultra portfolio, marketing strategies & plans ahead

e4m by Neethu Mohan
Updated: Dec 16, 2019 10:37 AM
Gurpreet Singh, United Breweries Ltd

United Breweries Limited has forayed into the alternate beer category with the launch of the Kingfisher Ultra Witbier - the first non-lager beer from the house of Kingfisher.

Speaking about their entry into the craft beer segment, Gurpreet Singh, Head - Marketing, United Breweries Limited said, “We have been looking at the opportunity of this emerging segment for about 2 years and sizing it. Lots of opportunities have emerged, few of them turned into facts and few of them turned into trends. When trends happened we started focusing on it and started doing a little bit of research. We kept monitoring how the consumer taste was evolving. So, the question we asked was whether the opportunity is going to be sizeable and is there going to be growth?”

“We understood that the consumers wanted to try different products and want to experiment with different tastes. At the same time, their taste buds haven’t evolved and that will happen eventually. Witbier is a category to record that across the world. We were quite confident that this category will emerge as a winner because Indians like sweeter things. Sweeter beers tend to do well in the Indian market," he continued.

Singh believes that the ingredients that go into the Witbier will accentuate the Indian taste buds. He is also confident that Witbier as a category will continue to grow and turn into a sizeable opportunity in the years to come.

Speaking on the target group for the new product, Singh said, “The key differentiator is that we have made far more sessionable craft beer. The core consumption of the beer category comes from the age group of 21-35 years. There is consumption beyond 35 as well, but 70 to 80 per cent comes from the above-mentioned age group.”

“I believe that women consumers are a secondary target group. The initial consumers will be slightly affluent because these are premium priced brands,” added Singh.

Speaking about the product, Singh said, “The craft-style beer is brewed with the authentic Belgian wheat beer recipe, offering a refreshing, light and sessionable taste. The beer is a rich blend of all-natural extracts of orange and coriander, spices sourced from Belgium and new world aromatic hops sourced from the USA. Ultra Witbier will retain the sense of style and authenticity of the parent brand Ultra, and we are confident it will appeal to our consumers across the country.”

About the idea behind using the parent brand name for essentially a new category, Singh said, “This is something which we debated at length. If you look at other players in the craft beer segment they have come up with completely different offering names, packages, and styles. We had the option of going that route and building a new brand name. We felt that bringing craft beer under the Ultra portfolio will give the consumer an option of choosing from an already known and established brand. There is a trust factor involved and rest we believe that the product will speak for itself.”

“The reason we went with the legacy of Ultra is because, it is one of the brands that has managed to premiumize, and attained success,” added Singh.

Singh asserts that their ultimate aim is to attain market leadership in the craft beer segment.

“One of the biggest challenges and go-to-market strategy is to build a portfolio. We will continue to strengthen our product portfolio across the craft beer segment,” he added.

Speaking on the marketing strategies Singh said, “We will continue to focus on our working sponsorship models. Indian Premier League (IPL) has done wonders for us. We will continue to make good advertisements. When it comes to the craft beer segment, we are focused more on visibilities at point-of-sale and point of consumption.”

“We are going to focus on sampling, and being at the right events and gathering to introduce the product. We will also be utilizing the digital media platform to narrate interesting stories around this category,” Singh concluded.

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