Carlsberg-owned Baltika Breweries has said that beer will remain its core business, despite its plans to launch a new water product in Russia later this month.

Baltika, which also launched its own brand of non-alcoholic bread drink kvas in the country last year, said yesterday (14 April) that “unstable” economic conditions in the brewing sector has led it to find new ways to strengthen its market position.

As a result, Baltika will launch Life Spring bottled water in the country at the end of the month. It will be produced in 0.5-litre and 1.5-litre bottles.

Baltika said it plans to “gradually enter the water market”, beginning with test sales of Life Spring in the European part of Russia. It added that diversifying its brand portfolio and developing non-beer segments are the elements of the firm’s long-term strategy.

However, a spokesperson for Baltika has told just-drinks that, although the development of non-beer products is one of its strategic tasks, beer will always remain its focus and core business.

“Baltika does not stand still and seeks further development and increased efficiency,” the spokesperson said, adding that it will enter the water market “step by step”.

The firm said it will make a final decision on a full launch of Life Spring after analysing the results of its sales this year.

“In 2010 Life Spring will be sold only in European Russia, where the level of potable water consumption is higher than in the rest of the country,” the spokesperson added.

Baltika said it is targeting an audience of men and women of 25-45 years with “middle or higher income”.

Details of promotional activities for Life Spring are expected to be announced in June. The company declined to give details of marketing spend.