Brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) has reported a 30 per cent increase in sales with gains in some markets in the first half of 2023 and expects the momentum to continue in the second half, its President India & Southeast Asia Kartikeya Sharma said.
The company, which is a leading player in the premium and super premium beer segment with brands like Budweiser, Hoegaarden and Corona, has reported 200-300 basis points upside in growth in large markets such as Karnataka, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and West Bengal, he said.
"The beer industry grew 20 per cent from January to June 2023... We grew ahead of the industry by almost 50 per cent. So our growth was closer to 30 per cent, said Sharma in a media roundtable here.
However, there are some challenges from the urban market, which is witnessing some tapering off in the demand at urban centres but Sharma is confident in maintaining the growth rate.
The challenge is for us to see how in H2 we are going to sustain and expand the share gains but in H1, we were been very satisfied with the numbers, said Sharma.
In its top 10 focus markets, AB InBev sees the gap between them and the market leader coming down to two to three percentage points.
In a lot of our focus markets, we actually see the gap close to the market leader and in some cases, we have become a market leader, he added.
Over the consumption trends, post Covid there was an extension in the peak in the premium segment, but in the last two months the urban centres bucking the trend, where the peak is fading away.
"The growth rates in the post-peak period have not tapered off quite dramatically due to the peak period. And subsequently within that, in these urban centres premium actually sees almost peak level growth and therefore our positioning in the premium has allowed us to share gain in H2," Sharma said.
The Indian beer market is led by United Breweries Ltd (UBL), which is controlled by Dutch brewing major Heineken.
AB InBev's super premium brands Corona and Hoegaarden, Sharma said, contributing in high single digits of the total sales here. "Together with Budweiser, Corona and Hoegaarden contribute 58 per cent of the total volume," he said and rest 42 per cent comes from entry-level beers such as Haywards, Royal Challenge, Knockout and Indus Pride. The mainstream entry-level beer contributes to 35 per cent of the value.
AB InBev also entered the whisky market in India last year, with brands such as Budweiser Magnum Double Barrel and D'YAVOL INCEPTION.
Over sales of Whiskey, Sharma added: "It is difficult to put a number on that because it is very early days. We are at three to four markets and 2,000 to 3,000 worth of points of sale in terms of distribution."
In 2023, it also launched three variants of Gin extending its Hoegaarden brand in the segment and Seven Rivers Spiced Rum.
AB InBev entered India in 2008 with Budweiser through a joint venture. Now after 15 years, India is now the fourth-largest market for Budweiser globally.
India is the only country where AB InBev, under its Budweiser portfolio, has beer, whiskey and energy drinks.
Over the inflation, Sharma said there was no impact as it has not passed on the impact but preferred to squeeze its margins to tackle the situation and sustain the growth.
(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)