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INDIA: Cobra in talks to build second brewery

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UK-based Cobra Beer has revealed it is in talks to set up a brewery in the Indian city of Hyderabad, its second in the country.

Santosh Cherian, Cobra Beer's international marketing manager, told just-drinks today (7 December) that the company had started discussions with "a couple of people" about setting up a brewery in Hyderabad as it looks to strengthen its presence in India's fast-growing beer market.

"We already are talking to a couple of people but nothing concrete has been decided," he said. "Knowing how long things sometimes take in India, it could take up to a year, so we hope to begin the project next year. By 2007, we could have something of our own up and running."

Cobra Beer, which has enjoyed strong growth in the UK and Europe, has set its sights on gaining a foothold in India's small but fast-growing beer market. The company, which had initially exported its flagship brand into India from the UK, launched Indian-brewed Cobra Beer in March. The company had joined forces with independent local brewer Mount Shivalik to set up a brewery in Rajasthan in the north of India.

Cherian was confident about Cobra Beer's prospects in India, despite facing a heavily regulated market and the dominance of India's two largest beer makers, United Breweries and SABMiller.

"We are targeting sales (in India) of 1m cases over the next three years and we think we will be able to achieve more than that. We have a big, big task on our hands but we are quite confident."


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