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UB trusts Kingfisher to keep spirits high
- Drinks corner: How they raised a toast

Mumbai, Dec. 14: United Breweries Ltd is planning to give a push to Kingfisher Strong, thus springing a challenge on Shaw Wallace, the leaders in the strong beer segment.

The beer major from the Vijay Mallya stable is also looking at relaunching some acquired brands, introducing a brand at the top-end segment and bringing in product variants. All this forms part of its strategy for growth and market-share expansion.

Currently, the company has a 37 per cent share in the domestic brewery market. It has set a target for a 50 per cent market share in the next 5 years.

The focus on Kingfisher Strong has come at a time when the domestic market has undergone a transformation in its consumption pattern to strong beer from mild beer, which was prevalent in the early nineties, sources said.

This has led to the launch of new brands in the strong beer segment. Brands such as Haywards 5000, with an estimated sale of over 15 million cases per annum, has emerged as the domestic market leader constituting around 28 per cent of this segment.

According to company estimates, Kingfisher Strong is the second largest player in the high alcohol beer segment.

Kingfisher, with a business volume exceeding 26 million cases according to company figures, is the flagship beer brand of the company.

Other brands include Kalyani Black Label, Flying Horse, UB Ice, UB Export and Bullet Super Strong.

In India, beer is classified into mild beer that has an alcohol content of less than 5 per cent and strong beer that has an alcohol content ranging between 5 per cent and 8 per cent and draught beer.

Over the past few years, the consumption pattern has shifted in favour of strong beer largely due to a “value-for-money” preference among consumers. Beer industry data reveal that the ratio of mild to strong beer in the country has shifted from 66:34 in 1993-94 to 37:63 in 2002-03.

Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka are the major beer consuming states, accounting for around 50 per cent of the total consumption.

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