Carlsberg ramps up India operations

BANGALORE: It’s the Nordic leap of faith in India’s beer story. Carlsberg has started work on its fifth brewery in the country, signalling the fastest ramp-up by any international brewer in the local market. The $20-million plus brewery will come up in Andhra Pradesh with monthly capacity of half-a-million cases.

The Denmark-based global beermaker has acquired 40 acres in Medak district, and expects to put the plant on stream within 12 months. In the third year of Indian operations, Carlsberg already has four existing breweries in Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Himachal Pradaesh and West Bengal with a combined capacity of 8.25 lakh hectolitre or nearly 10 million cases (of 7.8 litre each) annually.

Carlsberg India MD Pradeep Gidwani said the company reported volume sales of 1.5 lakh hectolitre or two million cases in 2008. “We are poised to triple that to 4.5 lakh hectolitre (about 5 million cases) in the current calendar year,” he told . The international brewer operates three brands in India — Tuborg, Palone and the eponymous flagship Carlsberg.

Carlsberg followed Foster’s, SABMiller and Anheuser-Busch into one of the fastest growing beer markets where consumption is projected to rise 15 per cent annually in the medium-term. The Danish brewer’s Indian arm effected small brewery acquisitions in Himachal (Himneel) and West Bengal (Parag) in 2007, and set up two more greenfield plants since then.

“We are investing at the right time. We are investing in quality, and in this, we are ahead of time,” added Gidwani.