French sparkling wine producer Bouvet-Ladubay, owned by Indian group United Beweries, has inaugurated a new EUR12m production and bottling plant near Saumur, in the Loire Valley.

Shrugging off concerns about the economic downturn, a company spokesperson told just-drinks today (11 December) that year-on-year sales grwoth "meant a bigger plant was indispensable".

Bouvet-Ladubay volume sales are expected to reach up to 4.7m bottles in 2008 and could rise to 6m bottles over the next three years, driven by buoyant export markets such as Germany, Japan and other countries in Asia and India, the spokesman said.    

"The new plant will allow us to produce up to 8m bottles annually and with extension work capacity could be increased 10m bottles if required."   

He added that Bouvet-Ladubay was riding the current economic downturn reasonably well, adding that year-on-year sales of the company's Saumur brut and crémant de Loire were up 5% and 22% respectively.