United Breweries, India's largest beer maker, has announced that it is hoping to raise its sales volumes by over 12% for the current financial year.

"This year, we are aiming at 12% plus growth particularly through innovations," UB general marketing manager Ramesh Viswanathan said at a news conference.

The rise is likely to come from a mixture of acquisitions and organic growth. While the company is currently finalising a deal to buy the unlisted brewer Rajasthan Breweries for around US$8m, India still has huge potential for growth in beer sales.

With a population of more than one billion people, India has a per capita beer consumption of just half a litre compared to 18 litres in China. UB currently holds around 40% of the market. Its sales reached 31m last year, an increase of 12% on the previous year.

Overall India is expected to see its beer market grow close to 11% this year.
Vishwanathan made is predictions at the launch of a 330 ml of the popular Kalyani Black Label brand in the eastern city of Calcutta.