Carlsberg brings its premium beer to India

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New Delhi, Sep 22 (UNI) Danish beer major Carlsberg today launched its flagship brand in India and said it was looking at vertical expansions to spread sales across Asia.

Copenhagen-based beer company's product, which is popular worldwide, will be available initially in the capital and by the end of the year in the other key metros.

''We will, towards the end of the year, start expanding to key metros in the country,'' said Joakim Sande, Marketing Director of South Asia Breweries.

The company has priced its premium category beer at Rs 35 for 330 ml and Rs 60 for 650 ml.

''We are looking at an organic growth and through acquistion and joint ventures to boost sales since Asia contributes only 10 per cent to our sales while Europe accounts for 50 per cent,'' said Jorn Jensen, firm's Chief Financial Officer.

The company owns 300 brands worldwide, but has only 60 in Asia.

Carlsberg has started operations with a brewery in Himachal Pradesh, which has an annual capacity of 150,000 hectolitres.

By early next year, it plans to start two more greenfield units, one located in Alwar, Rajasthan and another in Aurangabad, Maharashtra, each with 5,00,000 hectolitres annual capacity.

Carlsberg said it expected annual beer consumption in India to grow by more than 140 per cent by 2010.

It said the per capita intake would grow to five to six litres a year over the next few years from current levels of about a litre because of rising incomes in a fast growing economic.

Carlsberg officials said the total market size for premium beer is nine per cent of the total liquor market.

Senior Vice President of Carlsberg Asia Jesper Madsen said he expected beer consumption in Asia to grow to 571 million hectolitres by 2010 from 466 million.

The company has 26 breweries in the region, six of which are in China.

Madsen added that India would become the second-largest beer market in Asia by drawing alongside or overtaking Japan by 2020.

India is a market of huge strategic importance and we are committed to continue investing in this country, said Madsen.

The company, however, declined to give a figure to the projected sales and maintained that the market was very small to quote any figures at the moment.

Mr Madsen was optimistic on his India outlook as he stated that people were now increasingly looking at alternatives to hard liquour and therein lay a huge potential for Carlsberg Meanwhile, Carlsberg officials declined to confirm the report that it was eyeing 60 per cent stake in Parag Breweries located near Kolkata.

UNI

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