Diageo mulling brewing Guinness in India

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New Delhi, Dec 16 (UNI) In an attempt to increase sales and consolidates its share in the beer market, the world's biggest spirits company, Diageo India Pvt Ltd is planning to brew one of its most successful beer brands, Guinness, in India.

''We are exploring the possibility of brewing Guinness in the country. When we do it, will be the issue of determining that we have the right manufacturing facility and the right programmes in place,'' said Diageo India Managing Director Asif Adil.

The brewing can be cone from existing distilleries of ours, with some modifications in place, he added.

Diageo is looking at a share of between five and seven per cent of the total beer market, whose size in volume terms currently is around 120 million cases (consisting of twelve 750 ml bottle each).

According the Mr Adil, Guinness has already met a tremendous reception since its launch in February. The company now sells 2,400-2,500 cases a month at Rs 450.

For the company Mr Adil said business is excellent. ''We are firing on eight cylinders right now and all our brands our doing well. Last year we launched several brands in India and this year has been a year of consolidation and making sure each of these brands grows up.'' In scotches, Mr Adil said, each of the brands was doing exceptionally well, right from Johnny Walker to Vat 69 and Black and White.

''In terms of Vodka, Smirnoff continues to do brilliantly with upwards of 70-75 per cent growth every year. Shark Tooth is doing very well and is already number one or a strong number two across the markets it competes in,'' Mr Adil said.

Diageo's sales of Captain Morgan is gaining momentum, and this year company plans to activate Baileys after the successful launch of international wines Blossom Hill, Piat d'Or.

The company also recently launched its domestic wine label called 'Nilaya'-meaning blue heaven.

The market for wine in India has been growing at over 25 per cent per year, making it one of the fastest-growing wine markets.

Diageo has a network of six distilleries across India with one in Aurangabad, Bangalore, Indore, its wine unit in Nashik and one in Sri Lanka. The company will have another distillery in Ambala soon.

Diageo is also planning to set up a bottling plant in Eastern India to expand its market there. ''We are looking to put up a distillery in the eastern part of the country, somewhere in Kolkata which will create a footprint of distilleries across the country,'' said Mr Adil.

Mr Adil said with the reduction of additional customs duty, most of the company's brands have become extremely competitive in the market.

UNI

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