The Moscow-based company is not, however, selling its beer in Ecuador, at least not yet. The first shipments focused on the company's low-alcohol premixed cocktails, a niche which Ochakovo believes it can exploit to the full.
Ochakovo's marketing team believes that these premix products have a strong chance of success in the Ecuadorian market, after taste tests at local supermarkets such as Supermaxi revealed a high level of interest.
Also based on the results of the tests, the first products to be shipped from Russia to Ecuador were premixed gin & tonic, rum & cola and vodka & orange. The range is expected to be extended next year to include Ochakovo entire portfolio of premixes, as well as its Ochakovo Premium beer and vodka brand Ochakovskaya.
Ochakovo said it would continue with in-store promotions as the most effective way of marketing the products, and will look to expand beyond Ecuador as soon as possible. A stand at next year's AGROEXPO trade fair in Colombia, the biggest food exhibition in the region, will give the company access to buyers from across the region.
Latin American countries such as Venezuela, Colombia, Chile and Panama are seen as key growth markets for alcoholic beverages, and particular for low-alcohol products like premixed cocktails. Latin Americans have a larger per capita intake of alcohol - as much as 40 litres per capita each year - and with many of these countries experiencing robust economic growth, consumers are switching from cheaper, domestically produced alcoholic beverages to more expensive, imported products.
Ochakovo is one of Russia's top three brewers, producing more than 100 different lines in eight separate product categories. In the second quarter of 2004 the company sold 20.8 million decilitres of beverages, some 4.8 per cent more than in the same period in 2003.