UB to launch non-alcoholic beer

UB to launch non-alcoholic beer

The Bengaluru-based company is looking at the larger beverage consumption occasions to further drive the growth of its business. (Image for representation)

There is a good news for teetotallers. India’s largest beer company United Breweries Limited (UBL) is set to launch a non-alcoholic beer in India very soon.

The Bengaluru-based company is looking at the larger beverage consumption occasions to further drive the growth of its business. UBL is currently working on tapping the opportunity with a portfolio of non-alcoholic beers that deliver on refreshment and taste.

“For most adults the beverage choices for non-alcoholic occasions are limited. Our new offerings will also enable us to enter a much larger retail universe that is today closed on to us,” the company said in its annual report to shareholders.

The company plans to manufacture its non-alcoholic beer at its brewery in Bihar and is scheduled to commence test marketing during the third quarter of the current financial year, the company said.

The main different between alcoholic and non-alcoholic beer is the amount of alcohol they contain. Alcoholic beers have some alcohol in them, while non-alcoholic beers contain a very little alcohol. There are four types of beers – alcohol-free, de-alcoholised, low-alcohol and alcoholic beer. According to experts, alcohol-free (or non-alcoholic) beer contains no more than 0.05% alcohol by volume (ABV), while alcoholic beer contains more than 1.2% ABV.

UBL has created a separate vertical to drive this business in a focused manner so as to unlock its full potential. “We see this business contributing significantly to the company in the years to come. Whilst these type of products have been introduced by beer companies around the world, UB will be a pioneer in India,” Shekhar Ramamurthy, Managing Director, UBL said.

Currently, with a market share of about 52%, UBL is a market leader in the beer industry in India.

However, there is no proper data available on the size of the non-alcoholic beer market in India as the segment itself is very nascent, said an analyst.

A Mumbai-based startup firm Coolberg Beverages Pvt Ltd is already selling its non-alcoholic beer products in more than 75 cities across 18 states. Its beer products come in flavours such as mint, strawberry, cranberry and peach.

Globally, non-alcoholic beer market was estimated at over $4 billion in 2017 and growing rapidly. The key manufacturers in the non-alcoholic Wine and Beer segment include Carlsberg, Heineken N.V, Bernard Brewery, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Moscow Brewing Company and Suntory among others.

During the year 2017-18, UBL added about 1.5% market share over the previous year volume and grew by 10%. This was the first double-digit volume growth since 2010-11. UBL’s sales volume improved in key profitable markets, with strong market share gains in most large states across the country, especially in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.