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people 19 Jan 2016

Drink Beer Mahou San Miguel way

Mahou San Miguel is all set to revolutionise the way people drink in India by targeting customers’ who do not just drink beer but savor and enjoy it. Here’s what Erik d’Auchamp, CEO, Mahou India has to say on growing the brand in India.

By Nusra Deputy Features Editor

What are the qualities of beer that you serve at Mahou?

Mahou San Miguel, a 100 per cent family-owned Spanish company and a leader in Spanish beer industry, has 125 years of brewing experience, beginning with the birth of Mahou in 1890. The key differentiator of our products is the unique yeast, a closely guarded secret that gives the beer its unique personality. While we have worked on a formula to satisfy the Indian palate, which usually demands beer which is less bitter, we continue to use this secret ingredient in our products. Currently, we have the following products exclusively being brewed in our own brewery in Bhiwadi, Rajasthan.

Mahou 5 Star

Mahou 5 Star has been created to satisfy the most discerning palates! With a bright golden yellow appearance, Mahou is marked by notes of toasted barley.  Its great balance of taste makes it an authentic 5 star experience for our consumers. Mahou is known for its way of serving – the famous “caña” from Madrid and the thick cream that envelops the glass when poured with a perfect serve.

Dare Devil

Dare Devil is our wonderful Indian brand brewed with “Dare to Win” attitude. It is a superior fresh tasting strong beer, specially crafted for the Indian palate. With its premium packaging and an easy pull off cap, it’s produced to the highest standards of European brewing.

Mahou Clásica

Mahou Clásica is a premium lager that comes with a tinge of fruity flavours and bright golden colour. It maintains the original Spanish recipe, taste and quality given to its production since 1890. It has a crystalline aspect and a faint, elegant malt aroma. It is a scrumptious, refreshing drink with a well-integrated bitter finish and very light balsamic hints, brewed for those who believe in the classic taste of a smooth, easy to drink beer.

India is not an alcohol ready market. What is your view on the same?

The consumption of beer in India has now started becoming more socially acceptable and we see that people’s perspective about beer is changing in a positive direction, becoming part of social engagement with friends and family.  Beer market in India today is equivalent to 27 million hectolitres. Per capita consumption is approximately 2 litres (1.9 in 2014 and it will reach 2.2 in 2016 according to Euromonitor). It has grown at a rate of 13% over the last 5 years and it is expected to reach more than 37 million hectolitres in 2019, enjoying high single digit growth in the coming years.

You have 7 breweries in Spain. What is your plan of exporting to other countries?

Mahou San Miguel products are present in over 60 countries worldwide. The company produces more than 75 per cent of exported Spanish beer. As mentioned, Mahou San Miguel has eight brewing centers, seven in Spain and one in India and  two water springs all equipped with the latest technology that ensures excellent quality of all our products. We are the largest producer of beer in Spain and our market share is about 37%. Right now, our international business is about 13% of our sales, the objective is to make t 20% sale in the next 5 years and India forms an important part of that plan.

How do you compete with global brands in the segment?

Taking a leap beyond the Spanish industry, Mahou has brought its 125 years of brewing experience to India with the flagship beer, Mahou 5 Star to be the first ever Spanish beer to be brewed in India. While Mahou is synonymous with the Spanish culture of enjoying good food and beer, we want to create that culture for our Indian consumers. We have recently started Mahou Cañas & Tapas Nights that were aimed to bring the Spanish flavor to the Indian consumers through Flamenco, Spanish guitar and music and so on. We believe the Spanish culture is making inroads in India, the'Cañas & tapas' (Snacks and Beer) of Spain, will soon become a regular resort of Indian party enthusiasts.

Who is your target customer?

Our potential consumer profile is the brand conscious people of urban cities, who are open to experiment with new international brands and high quality products. They do not just drink beer, but they savor and enjoy it.  They want to enjoy superior quality experience and are ready to spend a few extra bucks for that. With a growing population of young adults who are increasingly more adoptive of premium brands in their focus towards a quality lifestyle, we feel we have a good brand portfolio to accommodate these premium consumers.

How are you placing in the Indian market as we see lots of players emerging?

Currently we are in the launch phase and are learning at each step of doing business. We share accumulated experiences across our teams, both within India and globally. We are in India for a long term, and we want to do it right. Indian consumers are increasingly adapting to new high quality brands. There is a growing acceptance of international beer brands which isn’t restricted to only tier one markets. The Indian market has the highest growth rate worldwide with a CAGR of 13% over the last 5 years and by the next 5 years, it will grow up to 45.14 crore cases. India is the first market for us outside Spain, where we have started producing beer locally through our fully owned subsidiary.

Who do you see as your competitor in the market? How is your strategy different from them?

We see as our competitors any other beer brand playing in the premium segment. Our beers are appreciated not only for their quality and taste, but also for the Spanish lifestyle, values and the serving rituals with which they are associated. As a Spanish company with 125 years of brewing history, we believe that no one can deliver authentic fun loving Spanish experiences to the Indian consumers like us.

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