Carlsberg has confirmed plans to build two new breweries in India, through its South Asia Breweries joint venture in the country.

The brewer confirmed today (10 April) that the two greenfield sites, one in Maharashtra in the west of India, the other in West Bengal in the east, are expected to begin production by the end of June this year. Financial details were not disclosed.

The Maharashtra brewery is located in Aurangabad near Mumbai, and will initially have a licensed capacity of 500.000 hectolitres. The brewery in West Bengal, located near Kolkata, is part of a joint venture between South Asia Breweries (60%) and local partners from West Bengal, led by Parag Mitra and Debasis Mukherjee. This plant will have an initial capacity of 120,000 hectolitres, but will have "significant possibilities" for expansion, Carlsberg said.

Last year, South Asia Breweries acquired Himneel brewery in Himachal Pradesh, which has a capacity of 150,000 hl and possibilities for expansion. The construction of a greenfield brewery, with an initial capacity of 450,000 hl in Alwar in the state of Rajasthan, completed earlier this year.

The portfolio of the four breweries includes a number of Carlsberg brands including Carlsberg and Okocim Palone. More brands are planned to be launched during this year, the company said.

"With four modern breweries, Carlsberg and its joint venture partners have, within a little more than one year, established a significant platform in the Indian beer market," said senior vice president Jesper Madsen, head of Carlsberg in Asia. "The Indian beer market is very small today with an annual per capita consumption of around 1 litre but it is considered one of the most promising growth markets in the world."

South Asia Breweries was established November 2006. Carlsberg holds 45% of the shares, Industrialization Fund for Developing Countries holds 10%, while the remaining 45% is owned by a group of investors, led by The Lion Brewery Ceylon.