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UK: S&N to launch international brand in India

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Scottish & Newcastle has said it will launch one of its international beer brands into India next year - with Kronenbourg Blanc the favourite to enter the fast-growing market.

S&N, which owns a 37.5% stake in India's largest beer maker, United Breweries, plans to tap into India's burgeoning - and more brand-conscious - middle class as beer consumption booms in the country.

John Hunt, managing director for S&N's operations in Asia, refused to confirm which brand would be launched but said it would hit the market in the "middle of next year".

Hunt added: "We're carrying out some test marketing at the moment (and) we are looking at our Kronenbourg brands, either Blanc or 1664."

However, Dr Vijay Mallya, the flamboyant chairman of United Breweries, said he was "passionate" about Kronenbourg Blanc, adding that the brand could encourage Indian women to drink beer.

"It's extremely important for the Indian beer industry to penetrate the female drinking profile and (Kronenbourg Blanc) has that ability. India has never seen a white beer before - Kronenbourg Blanc is not just another lager - and that gives the brand an edge," he said.

Dr. Mallya added: "If it's successful, it would be a very major breakthrough in a market that is used to cultural values on beer drinking."

United Breweries, whose beer portfolio includes Kingfisher, controls 48% of India's fledgling beer market, which is growing at 8% a year.


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