Molson Coors, Obolon launch Carling lager in Ukraine

Molson Coors, Obolon launch Carling lager in Ukraine

Molson Coors is seeking to bolster its presence in Eastern Europe by launching Carling lager in Ukraine, via a tie-up with local brewer Obolon.

Molson Coors said today (1 June) that 50cl bottles of Carling will be available in grocery stores and bars across Ukraine from this month. The North American brewer has signed a commercial venture with Obolon, which has around a 27% volume share of Ukraine's beer market.

The move signals Molson Coors' desire to improve its presence in emerging markets. Among its multinational peers, Molson Coors remains the most reliant on sluggish beer markets in North America and the UK.

"As the second largest beer market in Eastern Europe, Ukraine presents an excellent opportunity for us to expand our global footprint in emerging markets," said the president of Molson Coors International, Kandy Anand.

The tie-up with Obolon also represents a challenge to Anheuser-Busch InBev, whose Sun InBev subsidiary is Ukraine's largest brewer.

Molson Coors and Obolon will jointly manage the marketing and distribution of Carling. Obolon, meanwhile, will brew and package Carling for the Ukraine market, Molson Coors said.

Beer consumption in Ukraine has risen by an average 8% per year over the past five years, led by the premium category, which now sits at 3m hectolitres, the brewer said.

"With a lower per capita consumption, there is strong growth potential for the market in the coming years."

Obolon's president, Olexandr Slobodyan, added: "We know consumers are looking for quality lagers with the cachet of an import."