Brasserie Kronenbourg has clarified earlier reports about its entry into the low alcohol beer sector in France. Speaking exclusively to just-drinks, communications director Vincent Rattez said that the company is looking to lead the sector in its home market.

A local report earlier this week said that the Scottish & Newcastle-owned brewer was planning to introduce Kronenbourg Extra 2.6° (at 2.6% alcohol) into France. At the same time, the report said the company would also launch a zero-alcohol brand, Kronenbourg Pur Malt, and Force 4 Light, a lower-calorie, shandy beverage.

"Up to now, the low-alcohol beer sector hasn't really existed in France," Rattez told just-drinks. "Although we launched Kronenbourg Extra 2.6° in the off-trade on a very small scale two years ago, we want to develop the sector throughout the whole of France."

Rattez said that Kronenbourg will up the presence of the beer across the whole country in the on-trade moving forward, with a view to becoming the number one low-alcohol beer in France

Regarding Pur Malt, Rattez said that the beer is performing ahead of expectations. "We launched the beer in the on-trade 18 months ago and it has been an excellent success. In the first semester of 2005, sales were 50% up year-on-year," he said. "The on-trade target is to have Pur Malt available in every bar in France by 2008."

Force 4 Light is presently only available in the off-trade. Kronenbourg has no plans to extend the shandy drink to the on-trade, Rattez said, as "there is very little demand for this type of drink in bars."