NEW DELHI: Anheuser-Busch Cos., the world’s largest brewer, has set up a joint venture in India to start selling Budweiser beer in Asia’s fourth-biggest economy.
St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch and Crown Beers will each own 50% in the venture to be called Crown Beers India Ltd, according to a company release on PR Newswire. Crown Beers India expects to complete setting up a 500,000-hectoliter brewery in the city of Hyderabad in March, the company said.
Anheuser-Busch’s Budweiser will compete with beers sold by United Breweries Ltd., SABMiller Plc and Carlsberg A/S in the world’s second-most populous nation. India’s economy is set to grow at 9% or more for the second successive year, boosting demand for beer as disposable incomes rise. About 8.2 million hectoliters of beer is consumed in the country, amongst the lowest in the world.
“International expansion is a key part of Anheuser-Busch’s growth strategy,” said August A. Busch IV, president and chief executive officer of the company. “While India is a small beer market today, it is growing rapidly and has tremendous long-term potential.”
The company will start selling Budweiser beer in India from May, Anheuser-Busch said.
Bangalore-based UB Group and Scottish & Newcastle Plc, the U.K.’s largest brewer, each own 37.5% of Bangalore-based United Breweries, India’s biggest brewer with about 48% share of the domestic market.
In December, Valby, Denmark-based Carlsberg said it will hold 45% of South Asia Breweries Ltd., which will build a brewery in Rajasthan state.
SABMiller, India’s second-largest brewer, said in November it plans to spend an average $100 million (Rs441 crore) a year in India.
Annual beer consumption per capita is about 0.7 liters a year in India, among the lowest in Asia, Carlsberg said in December. China’s 1.3 billion people drank an average 24 liters of beer each in 2005, compared with 80 liters in Europe and a world average of 30 liters, according to the company.