Japanese beer maker Sapporo Breweries is eyeing an investment in the Indian market, according to local reports.

Industry sources told India's daily newspaper Business Line at the weekend that Sapporo officials are expected to visit India during March to explore opportunities in the country.

"Nobody wants to miss out on one of the fastest growing markets in the world," a source told the newspaper.

Sapporo is expected to hold meetings with major beer companies in India before finalising plans for the company's foray into the country, sources said.

However, India's brewing heavyweights have recently suggested that overseas brewers would find it tough to break into the country's beer market.

The market is dominated by two brewers - United Breweries Limited (UBL) and SABMiller - and despite growing at around 7% a year, is heavily restricted by regulation on price and distribution.

"When it comes to international brewers who aspire to enter the Indian market, they will face a long, very expensive learning curve because India, in terms of beverage alcohol, is unique," UBL chairman Dr Vijay Mallya told just-drinks late last year.

"There are only two ways international brewers can establish a market presence in India. The first is through advertising; the second is through securing strong distribution.

"But the first, advertising, is banned; it's very difficult to act commercially with this constraint. The second is limited; what UB enjoys is a stronghold in distribution because we have a single distribution system for spirits and beer."