Consumers have come a long way from considering alcohol to be a social stigma to accepting it as a social drink, especially for beer, said Gurpreet Singh, Head of Marketing at United Breweries (UBL).
Talking about how United Breweries, the market leader in the beer segment, is planning to expand, Singh said, “UB being the market leader intends to drive the trend and culture by offering brands across consumer segments and also participating in culturally relevant on-ground experiential programmes by way of its various associations with IPL teams, music festivals like Sunburn.”
With several new launches in the pipeline, the alcobev company plans to widen the footprint of the overall beer and craft beer in India.
Singh said various third-party studies show that the market share of its beer brand Kingfisher is over 50%.
“It is not a share game at this stage rather a market-building long-term strategy,” said Singh.
UBL recently forayed into the alternative beer category with the launch of the Kingfisher Ultra Witbier, the first non-lager beer from the house of Kingfisher that targets the age group of 25 and above. “Staying true to addressing all beer segments, we will continue to launch different beers after seizing the opportunity,” Singh says.
According to Singh, digital has been chosen as the main medium for marketing and building awareness for Ultra Witbier. “We are currently spending towards generating awareness on Ultra Witbier’s introduction. So our focus will be on influencer marketing, digital and in-store visibility,” Singh said.
Witbier is currently available in Karnataka and Goa and will soon be available in Maharashtra, Delhi and Haryana.
Singh said UBL will continue to bolster its portfolio with offerings in line with evolving consumer tastes and emerging sizable consumer segments. “We are well geared to meet the current and the expected future demand of our portfolio and continue to make investments towards expanding our production keeping in mind the anticipated demand over the next couple of years,” said Singh.
The growth of the alcobev industry has been slow this year around the first two quarters, and the industry hopes high to churn out single-digit growth in the remaining quarters of FY 19-20.
Impacted by the national elections in the first quarter, and affected by unprecedented and excessive monsoons across India in the second quarter, the industry faced slow growth. However, the beer market is expected to grow with a CAGR of 9.9% over the forecast period 2019-2025. (As per a report issued by researchandmarket.com).
“Considering how the first half of the year has been, we are anticipating that the industry will still remain on the growth path. However, the growth expectation has been moderated to single digits,” Singh said.
Singh said the increased number of dry days around elections and impact on supply chain logistics and production caused disruptions, leading to a slowdown in the first quarter. Other than the disruptions on account of the elections in the first quarter, prolonged heavy monsoons were witnessed across many parts of the country, he said. “We have been growing at a steady pace,” he said.