Danish beer giant Carlsberg is all set to commence production from its two greenfield breweries - one each in Aurangabad (Maharashtra) and Kolkata - by the second quarter of this calendar year.
With one greenfield brewery already operational in Alwar (Rajasthan), another one in Himachal and two more to commence production in the second quarter, Carlsberg has embarked on an aggressive expansion plan in the Indian beer market, largely dominated by Vijay Mallya's Kingfisher beer.
Carlsberg together with beer major Heineken is part of the $11 billion global takeover of British brewer Scottish & Newcastle (S&N), which has 37.49 per cent stake in Mallya's United Breweries.
Heineken, which would inherit this stake from S&N, is also planning to launch its flagship beer brand Heineken in association with Singapore-based Asia Pacific Breweries.
"With four modern breweries, Carlsberg and its joint venture partners have established a significant platform in the Indian beer market in a little more than one year. The Indian beer market is very small today with an annual per capita consumption of around 1 litre, but it is considered as one of the most promising growth markets in the world," says Jesper B Madsen, senior vice-president and head of Carlsberg in Asia.
The total beer market in India is valued at 8 million hectolitres (hl) and growing at 30 per cent annually.
As announced by Carlsberg earlier, its brewery in Alwar has already begun production and made deliveries in the first quarter of 2008.
Carlsberg's portfolio from the four breweries includes a number of brands from its parent including Carlsberg and Okocim Palone. It is planning to launch more brands during 2008, according to the company.
According to Carlsberg, its Aurangabad brewery is almost identical to its Alwar plant and will have an initial licensed capacity of 500,000 hectolitre (hl).
However, its brewery in Kolkata would have an initial capacity of 120,000 hl. This brewery is part of Carlsberg's 60:40 joint venture between South Asia Breweries and local partners from West Bengal led by businessmen Parag Mitra and Debasis Mukherjee.
The fourth brewery owned by South Asia Breweries is located in Himachal Pradesh, from where Carlsberg launched its brands last summer. It has a capacity of 150,000 hl with possibilities for further expansion.
Carlsberg operates in India through South Asia Breweries in which it directly holds 45 per cent stake, while Industrialisation Fund for Developing Countries (IFU) holds 10 per cent and the remaining 45 per cent by a group of investors led by Carlsberg's partner in Sri Lanka, The Lion Brewery Ceylon.