UBL pitches for lower tax, duty to help bring down beer prices

 thehindu.com  12/04/2019 17:23:14 

Beer is increasingly gaining acceptance as a social catalyst in India, but their prices are not yet attractive to a large number of consumers thanks to unfriendly taxes and excise duties that now prevail in India, according to United Breweries Ltd. (UBL).

Debabrata Mukherjee, chief marketing officer, UBL, told The Hindu, Some amount of tax rationalisation will bring beer prices down in the country and under such a scenario, beer consumption will go up further. Consuming beer is a socially-accepted thing in India now; however, prices come as a stopper.

Beer is a State subject and therefore each State has its own duty structure. Karnataka has the highest levies on beer.

The State charges an additional excise duty of 175% and 150% on beer brewed in microbrewery and draught beer, respectively.

UBL on Thursday forayed into the alternative beer market with the launch of Kingfisher Ultra Witbier, the first non-lager beer from the Kingfisher stable.

The craft-styled beer is brewed with authentic Belgian wheat beer recipe, offering a refreshing, light and sessionable taste. Coming with an ABV (alcohol by volume) lower than 5%, the beer is a rich blend of natural extracts of orange and coriander, spices sourced from Belgium and aromatic hops sourced from the U.S, as per the company.

Mr. Mukherjee said, Being a lead player in beer, it is important that Kingfisher made multiple varieties of beer available in India to cater to all categories of customers.

We will be able to quickly scale up this business through our existing supply chain and manufacturing facilities, and take the product across the country in the next six months.

Kingfisher Ultra Witbier is available in 3 SKUs, a 330ml bottle, a 500ml can and a 650ml bottle, priced at 110, 150 and 185 respectively. The product, that is currently available in Karnataka and Goa, will be soon be launched in Maharashtra, Delhi and Haryana while the rest of the country will get the product in the next two quarters.

This is our first offering in speciality beer segment. We are banking on differentiated products. Consumers today expect more from their beer. They crave uniqueness in flavour, taste and experience. Ultra Witbier will retain the sense of style and authenticity of the parent brand ULTRA, he added.

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