Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Saturday, Dec 13, 2003
UB scouts for buys in wine, RTD segments
New Delhi , Dec 12
UNITED Breweries is planning to scale up its presence in the wine and ready-to-drink (RTD) alcoholic beverages market in a big way.
According to Mr Vijay Rekhi, President of UB Spirits Division, the company is looking to make a local acquisition in the spirits/wine segment in the coming year.
He refused to name the players the company is eyeing at the moment, but said that UB has grown through both organic growth and acquisitions in recent years and is open to further acquisitions.
Meanwhile, the company is also in talks with foreign wine companies to bottle wine at its Nashik facility within six months.
"We will be importing wine in bulk. We are more interested in French wine and are in talks with a French wine company," Mr Rekhi said.
The bottled wine is likely to be priced around Rs 500. McDowells, UB's flagship spirits company, currently sells wine bottled at the Nashik facility under the Bosca brand.
UB is also betting on the RTD segment for growth. The company is working on launching four in-house brands, of which three would be unveiled within eight weeks.
"The three RTDs will be based on an energy drink, a dark base and an Indian flavour. Later on we plan to launch a wine cooler, which is a wine-based RTD. We expect the RTD segment to become a sizeable category in the next 5-7 years," a senior company official said.
UB already has a presence in the RTD segment through Shotz, and four recently launched Australian RTD brands under group company, Triumph Distillers & Vintners.
Meanwhile, McDowells on Friday announced a strategic alliance with the Australia-based Independent Liquor and the launch of the fruit-flavoured vodka-based `Cruiser' carbonated drink.
Priced at Rs 40 for a 330 ml bottle, `Cruiser' has been introduced in three flavours - raspberry, passion fruit and ice.
Apart from increasing the availability of its current RTD brands, UB also plans to launch a new variant of Shotz soon.
Called Shotz Extra, it will be introduced in the Uttar Pradesh market soon and will have a higher alcohol percentage (eight per cent) than the regular Shotz (five per cent).
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