India Witnesses Beer Growth

With the beer consumption increasing in the country, industry experts say that Indians are fast catching up in their beer consumption as can be seen by the figures released by research agencies. India’s beer market is expected to reach volumes of nearly 470bn litters by the end of this year-a near thousand fold increase since 2011, read Food Navigator-Asia’s website.

The beer market is rapidly expanding and is expected to reach $9billion in 2018. It is the third largest market in the Indian alcoholic beverages industry. The size of the beer market has virtually doubled every five-and-a-half years. Beer market has been segmented into strong beer and mild beer on the basis of their alcohol content.

The country has 85 large breweries and a heavily centralised market, with just four large global players controlling 86 per cent of the market. With Heineken, Budweiser, SABMiller and Carlsberg enjoying brewing hegemony, India now ranks among the top five markets in Asia-Pacific in terms of volume, stated Food Navigator-Asia’s website.

According to ‘Outlook for India’s beer market’ report, beer sales in India are expected to see an annual growth of 7.5 per cent over the next five years despite regulatory hurdles, as rising disposable incomes in the hands of middle class will lead to higher spending.

“We believe India holds significant long-term growth potential as a beer-drinking culture is growing in momentum. We expect to see increasing levels of investment into the market from both local and global players over our forecast period,” the report said.

It further stated, “While spirits will continue to dominate India’s alcoholic drinks market, we expect to see strong growth in beer consumption over our forecast period. In volume terms, beer sales will rise at CAGR of 7.5 per cent between 2017 and 2021.”

Beer continues to be readily accepted, especially amongst the youth. In addition, prolonged periods of hot weather have a positive impact on the performance of beer in both on-trade and off-trade. Furthermore, the proportion of beer consumption is not skewed towards weekends as much as spirits, thus considerably increasing the occasions for beer consumption. Beer being a low alcohol by volume (ABV) beverage has also increased its proposition as a refreshment/entry level drink, especially amongst the youth, which currently is the biggest demographic segment in India. Also growing popularity of micro-breweries has promoted awareness and indirectly demand for off-trade beer sales

Craft beers and microbreweries are niche concepts in India which have been growing for past few years and are beginning to take shape now. They are mushrooming in many parts of the country. This is an emerging trend that is certainly attracting middle class Indians, particularly in urban areas. The craft beer market in India is pegged at Rs. 280 crore and may grow to Rs. 4,400 crore by 2020.

Beer in India is dominated by the off-trade channel which accounts for 79% of volume sales. 97% of the off-trade sales are through the food/drink/tobacco specialist channel. These are stores that are called ‘wine shops’ and are present in every city across India. However, companies are focusing on increasing their sales through the on-trade channel. Oktoberfests or beer festivals are organised in cities like Bangalore which is famous for its pub culture.

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