Already on sale in Kolkata, Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur, the beer will be launched over the next few months in major cities including New Dehlin, Bangalore, Hyperbad, Bangalore and Bhubaneswar, in 650ml bottles and 500ml cans.
Subodh Marwah, marketing director, Carlsberg India, told BeverageDaily.com that the Indian beer market was uniquely positioned where appreciation for strong beer continues to grow.
“This segment contributes to 85% of total beer volumes and is growing steadily. The consumer is evolving and looking for options, variety and choice,” he said.
Strong beer scores in India
Indians prefer strong beer, Marwah explained, as evidenced by the fact that the country is the largest whisky market in the world.
“The industry will continue to skew towards strong beer as the consumer wants more ‘bang for buck’, apart from the increasing appreciation of the strong taste.”
Strong beers historically were considered to be of average quality and light on the wallet, Marwah explained, but he said that perceptions were changing.
“Introduction of premium brands like Tuborg Strong and Carlsberg Elephant and other players in the strong segment has helped the growth of the strong market share in the last few years,” he said.
“Consumers are realizing that strong beers can also be of superior quality and are more willing to explore this category.”
‘Relatively sweeter’ taste palate
Marwah said that strong beer was a step up for consumers who prefer beer over hard liquor but liked the stronger taste, while for hard liquor drinkers, strong beer was usually the initial starting drink before they moved on to hard liquor on ‘social bonding occasions’.
In India, 99% of all beers were lager, Marwah added, with consumers seeking out taste variety, and the taste palate “relatively sweeter than most countries”.
Specially designed for the Indian palate, Tuborg Booster Strong had an exotic flavor that reduced bitterness and lent it a smooth aftertaste, he explained.
“We believe that this flavoured strong beer will catch the fancy of the consumers here in India and potentially elsewhere, but it all is specific to local tastes and preferences,” he added.
“Currently, our focus is India only with this launch. Currently, it is Carlsberg India’s privilege of launching this product in India for the very first time in the world, and it is only available here.”
Runaway sales success for Tuborg
We asked Marwah how products such as Tuborg Booster Strong could help the world’s fourth-largest brewer improve its market share in the country, given that India offers clear opportunities with low per capita beer consumption.
He replied that Tuborg was the fastest-growing brand (in absolute market share points gain) in the country and had seen “significant volume growth”; it was launched in India in March 2009.
Tuborg is India’s No.1 international beer brand and the No.4 brand in India, he added, and was known for its innovation – the first beer in India with a ‘pull off’ cap, the first to use a green (rather than amber) bottle for strong beer and the first with an easy-grip ‘3G’ bottle.