South African Breweries (SAB) announced the roll-out of its flag-ship international Castle Lager brand into India this week. 

Richard Rushton, managing director of SAB India, speaking at the launch in Delhi, said: "We have identified Delhi as the best entry point for Castle Lager because it is primarily a lager beer market, an international gateway to the rest of India and the city is also one of the key influencers of taste and fashion for other metropolitan areas within India."

Castle Lager will be brewed locally and the company said it had undertaken significant technology upgrades in its breweries to retain Castle Lager's taste and flavour. 

"We aim to achieve over 10% of the markets where the brand is available within the first year. Our strategy is to gradually increase our depth of distribution of Castle Lager as awareness increases in cities throughout the region," Rushton said.

"This will be supported by ongoing marketing initiatives around the Castle Lager brand to the trade and consumers to build up their brand awareness." 

He continued: "Our investment in India is focused on building a national presence.  SAB India's growth strategy is built around the acquisition of production capacity in key markets, upgrading and modernising breweries and the introduction of internationally proven brands, as well as developing local brands, for consumers in India.  Today's launch is evidence of our commitment to this strategy and to our operations in India. "

Graham Mackay, chief executive of SAB said: "Our entry into India is a further extension of our strategy of investing in developing markets. We are in India for the long term and will balance the immediate demands of the market with our long-term duties to stakeholders - to investors, a fair return; to employees, a safe and rewarding job; to suppliers, fair dealing; to governments which tax and regulate us, open and honest relations; to local communities and wider society, a commitment to enhance and work for the common good."