"The changing Indian culture and lifestyle have attracted us to this market. With this launch we will be able to offer Indian customers high-quality, super-premium beer that is available in more than 150 countries in the world," Jesper Madsen, vice president, Carlsberg Asia, told reporters during the launch.
India is the largest beer market in Asia after China. The company has 26 plants in Asia, including one in India. It will soon be commissioning two additional breweries in the country, Madsen said.
Carlsberg's first plant in Himachal Pradesh has started operation and will be the only source of production for the time being. It would set up two greenfield breweries in Alwar in Rajasthan and Aurangabad in Maharashtra, which will be operational early 2008.
"The growth in western European market remains even but the market in Asia and especially India is important for Carlsberg to continue its strong performance as a global player in the beer industry," said Madsen.
In India, Carlsberg will operate through South Asia Breweries Private Ltd (SABPL). It is a joint venture between Carlsberg Breweries, Industrialisation Fund for Developing Countries (IFU), the financial arm of Danish government, and a group of investors.
Carlsberg Breweries holds 45 percent of the stake and IFU holds 10 percent, while the group of investors hold the remaining 45-percent stake in SABPL.
The beer initially will be available only in the National Capital Region in bottles of 330 ml and 650 ml and would be priced at Rs.35 and Rs.60, respectively.
"Slowly we will launch Carlsberg in key metros across India, creating a new category of super-premium beer range in the country. The focus will be on creating a strong presence in the metropolitan cities before going to other markets," said Joakim Sande, marketing director of SABPL.