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Friday, November 02, 2001

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Lager beer gains ground in AP -- 9 pc rise in consumption in 6 months

Boby Kurian

BANGALORE, Nov. 1

IN a surprising reversal of trend, lager beer has outclassed high alcohol content strong beer in the crucial market of Andhra Pradesh during the first half of the current financial year, according to industry sources.

The market figures available with Business Line indicate that the overall beer market in Andhra Pradesh has registered a growth of seven per cent in the first six months. But what is seen as more significant is the improvement in lager beer consumption, which showed a healthy nine per cent growth. The half-yearly growth in strong beer sales has been pegged at five per cent.

This marks a drop in the increasing consumer shift towards strong beer in recent years. For instance, in Andhra Pradesh, strong beer accounts for 61 per cent of total sales. This is down one per cent in the first half due to the revival in lager business.

The overall beer market sales in Andhra Pradesh touched 68.67 lakh cases during the first six months this year as against 64.48 lakh cases in the corresponding period last year. If a similar growth continues in the second half, the State may sell about 136 lakh cases in the ongoing financial year, making it the largest beer market in the country.

A few factors seem to have worked in favour of lager beer business in the State. The State Government's decision to allow bar licences might have impacted the same. This is based on the assumption that lager tends to dominate beer consumption in bars.

Also, the efforts put in by beer majors such as Shaw Wallace Breweries Ltd and UB Ltd along with the recent foray of Australian brand, Foster's, in the State market might have further helped lager business.

The increase in beer price owing to a hike in taxation and a relatively subdued `seconds' menace in IMFL trade in the State might have also helped renewal of interest in lager beer to some extent, say sources. The increased presence of lager in Andhra Pradesh is reflected in the optimistic outlook for brands such as Royal Challenge Premium Lager, which is poised to sell two million cases in that State alone.

SWBL is the leader in Andhra Pradesh with a market share of over 40 per cent followed by UB Ltd with 25 per cent.

  Related links:
SWC beer sales in AP touch 10 m bottles
April showers dampen AP bid to become No 1 beer market


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