Locally-made Heineken beer likely by next year

Written by Neha Pal | Neha Pal | Updated: Jul 17 2010, 06:21am hrs
United Breweries, one of the country's largest manufacturer ofalcoholic beverages with annual revenue of around $3 billion, recently launched its new beer, the Ultra in Delhi. The companys senior vice-president (marketing) Samar S Shekhawat spoke to FE's Neha Pal about the company's business plans. Excerpts:

In 2009-10, how was the groups sales

We are more into beer than wine as our portfolio comprises 90% beer and 10% wine. We sold 100 million cases of beer in 2009-10.

What is the brewing market

With the Indian brewing industry growing at a healthy 20% major brewers across the world are making a beeline for India. Anhueser Busch and Carlsberg have marked their entry into the Indian market and Tiger from APB was also launched in 2009. SAB Miller, United Breweries closest competitor has also come up with Peroni. All this clearly indicates the emergence of a new segment which is the super premium segment that will slowly but surely capture a sizeable share of the Indian market.

Any plans for new products

United Breweries and Heineken, which is the largest global beer brand, joined hands in December last year to lead the Indian beer market. We have plans to sell locally brewed Heineken by next year.

What kind of response are you getting for Kingfisher Red beer that was launched in February

It has been very good because it is India's first all season beer which tastes great even when it is not chilled. It is developed following a unique process whereby the beer is golden light oaky brown and can be consumed even at 14 to 17 degree celsius without any change in the taste of the beer.

What is UBL's market share in India

The beer brands manufactured and marketed by UBL have always been recognised for their international quality. UBL commands a strong presence in India with a market share in excess of 50% and is twice the size of its nearest competitor.

How many manufacturing units do you have in India Could you let us know about your global presence

We have 25 manufacturing facilities spread throughout the country. Kingfisher premium lager beer is currently available in 52 countries outside India and leads the way amongst Indian beers in the international market.

What will be your marketing strategy for the current fiscal

At UBL, innovative, creative and aggressive marketing is complemented by a strong distribution network. The management is focused on building brand equity on one hand and exploiting it to the hilt on the other. Moreover, things are quite favourable for us in a country like India which has hot temperature plus young population.