AmBev is targeting the premium segment to drive growth in its domestic market.

The Brazil-based unit of InBev, which operates in South and Latin America has introduced Stella Artois to the country since the merger of Interbrew and AmBev in 2004. With almost 70% market share in Brazil, AmBev is now hoping to increase its presence in the country's premium segment.

Speaking to just-drinks last week, AmBev's zone president for Latin America north, Luiz Fernando Edmond, said: "We have huge opportunities in the premium segment in Brazil to grow the top-line. That's something we weren't conscious of before InBev. The real opportunities in the premium segment were not touched four or five years ago."

While conceding that the premium segment in Brazil remains small, Edmond highlighted the performance of premium in other drinks sectors in the country. "Look at Unilever or Proctor," he said. "They have 15% of their volumes coming from premium brands.

"In beer, three years ago, 5% of our volumes came from premium brands, today it's around 7% and we'll be at 10% in the near future. That's a clear part of the top-line for Ambev."

AmBev will look to grow the presence of Stella Artois in Brazil, but has come up against issues with InBev's other international brand, Beck's, which "didn't test well", Edmond said,

"The Beck's name in Brazil brings an American idea. It's an English name for Brazilians. So it didn't test well as a European brand."

AmBev already dominates the mainstream sector in its home market, through the Brahma and Skol beer brands.