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Eying a niche market, Mahou wants to teach Indians the right way of drinking beer

As per capita consumption of beer in India is still on the lower side, the Spanish beer brand is using digital influencers, retail activation and football viewing to spread footprint. Ramita Chaudhuri, Chief Marketer, Mahou India, shares with BestMediaInfo.com how the localisation, customisation approach is helping the brand penetrate a market dominated by UB, AB and Carlsberg

Ramita Chaudhuri

Spanish beer brand Mahou, which established its first brewery in India in 2014, is betting heavily on experiential marketing to increase its footprint in the country — keeping gastronomy and football as the two focal points for its marketing activities.

Looking for a significant presence in the premium segment, the brand is targeting the young adult audience.

In an interaction with BestMediaInfo.com, Ramita Chaudhuri, Chief Marketer, Mahou India, shared how the brand’s USP of localisation and customisation would help it penetrate a market dominated by major players such as United Breweries, Anheuser-Busch, Carlsberg, etc.  She also shared how the brand is buckling itself up to serve the niche market and to educate consumers on the usage of beer with the help of influencers and bloggers.

Restraining itself from ATL activities, the brand feels beer is more of an experiential product. Having done large gastronomy events and alliances, it has allocated 50% of the marketing budget to retail activations. Assigning 25% to public relation activities, the rest 25% is kept for influencer marketing, including social media.

The brand’s marketing activities centre around football and gastronomy. On a global level, it has partnered with Real Madrid and LaLiga. Working closely with LaLiga India, the brand is also trying to introduce popular Spanish concepts of cana and tapa in the market.

In an attempt to educate customers about beer (how to drink it, with what to pair it), the brand has been working closely with bloggers and influencers for over two years. 

“In all our trade schemes, marketing plans or consumer promotions, we have influencers’ support. We are not regularly on board with influencers, but associate with them on a campaign basis,” she said. The brand has started with content marketing as well, and planning to scale it up going further.

Although the per capita consumption of beer in India is considered to be the lowest compared to the other global markets, factors like young and increasingly affluent consumers, with changing cultural attitudes, has given a push for the market. The brand sees people adopting to a better lifestyle and willing to spend a little more as few of the encouraging factors, which will help it sustain in the market.

Adding, Chaudhuri said there are only faster growth opportunities in the market. Beer is not hard liquor and is a socially accepted beverage in India among the younger population. 

She said the market might be highly taxed with regulations but the number of people who can afford beer is increasing. “If the market remains to be highly taxed, we will continue to be a little expensive and luxury commodity compared to other countries,” she said.

The Indian beer industry has been witnessing a steady growth of 7-9% per year over the last few years. The rate of growth has remained steady in recent years. She said that cost is no more an issue in certain segments, but certainly taxes play a role, and with states going dry, the market has witnessed a steady growth.

Commenting on how the brand plans to penetrate a market dominated by larger players, Chaudhuri said, “We are going a little measured. It takes time to understand the market audiences and their different preferences. The target audience is so accepting, the category is booming and craft beer is taking a lot of pie.”

As the consumption of beer among Indians rises with the disposable income of people going up and more people moving up to the tier I segment, the brand believes it would create a niche market. 

To acquire the mindshare of the customers, and then market share, she said, “It's more about the experience we bring. Market share would come eventually for sure.” The brand believes its approach of being localised and customised is the USP, which would help it to have an edge over others.

“You have to slice a consumer to understand the consumption pattern. It is a world of customisation. And we have similar offerings. If you have to be effective to your target audience, it is extremely important to be customised and localised,” she said. 

The brand produces more than 70% of Spanish beer consumed worldwide and has a presence in over 70 countries.

Currently serving in 14 states in India, its portfolio includes Mahou 5 Star, Mahou Clásica, Dare Devil Royal Export, Dare Devil and Mahou Maestra Wheat.


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