E-Malt. E-Malt.com News article: India: AB InBev betting big on new Beck’s Ice beer

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E-Malt.com News article: India: AB InBev betting big on new Beck’s Ice beer
Brewery news

Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) is betting big on Beck’s Ice, a German 100% malt beer, to make a dent in the growing affordable premium segment of the beer market in India, Livemint reported on July 23.

While the world’s largest beer maker has a strong presence in the premium space with Budweiser, Beck’s Ice is an effort to target an emerging segment in India, a top executive said.

Beck’s Ice has been pilot-launched in some parts of Maharashtra and will be available in Karnataka and Puducherry next month, and in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Goa around October.

Beck’s Ice will be priced about 12-20% higher than entry-level brands, with the aim of capitalising the pricing gap between those and the premium segment Budweiser operates in.

(Pricing for all alcoholic beverages vary from state to state, depending on excise duty structures.)

Budweiser is typically priced at a 40-50% premium over entry-level beer brands in India that includes some of United Breweries Ltd’s (UBL) Kingfisher variants, AB InBev’s own Haywards 5000 and Knock Out, and a couple of variants of Carlsberg Group’s Tuborg.

But, over the past year or so, a new segment is starting to emerge, said Kartikeya Sharma, AB InBev’s marketing director for India.

“As premiumisation continues, the trading up will become harder and harder because the gulf between the premium and entry-level will start increasing. As a result, we thought it best to have a portfolio bet on that price point and decided to position Beck’s as the midpoint to trade up,” Sharma said.

In Karnataka, for instance, a 650ml bottle of Beck’s Ice will cost ₹140. That is in line when compared with the price of Carlsberg’s Elephant, about ₹20 lower than a bottle of Budweiser Premium and ₹45 lower than Budweiser Magnum.

On the other hand, Beck’s Ice will cost roughly ₹15-20 more than the 650ml bottles of Kingfisher Premium, Haywards 5000 and Tuborg Green.

Carlsberg’s Elephant was among the first to be positioned in the affordable premium segment in India, Sharma said.

AB InBev tweaked both the liquid and the packaging of Beck’s, which is the name of the parent brand globally, before bringing the brew to the country.

Beck’s is a European lager, and these lagers sometimes tend to be too bitter (or hoppy in brewing parlance) for the Indian palette. AB InBev has brought down the bitterness level in the Indian variant—Beck’s Ice.

The brand is currently being brewed at its Maharashtra facility.

As it continues to be launched in other states, the manufacturing footprint will also expand.

Although AB InBev will be entering a new segment with Beck’s Ice, it does not imply that the company is not doing well in the premium space with Budweiser.

In fact, June was the best month ever in terms of gross sales for Budweiser in India, the company said.

Beck’s Ice, however, will position the company to take further advantage of the growing trend among Indian consumers of trading up.

24 July, 2018

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