Strong beer for India as Australia sobers up

Some of the world’s biggest brewers are piling into the Indian market, exploiting the country’s fast-growing taste for high-alcohol beer.

A 24 September Reuters report says Calrsberg, SABMiller, Anheuser-Busch Inbev and United Breweries all now target a market dominated by whisky and in which strong beer (alcohol content of 5–8 per cent) “accounted for 83 per cent of all beer sold in India last year”.

The report says drinkers there want to get drunk, and they want products with a macho image.

This contrasts with a sobering Australia where, according to ABS data released on 18 September, total alcohol consumption declined in 2011–12 for the second consecutive years. Beer consumption hit a 66-year low, and our tastes moved from low and full-strength beer to mid-strength.

Full strength beer accounts for around 77 per cent of the total, comprised mainly of beers containing between 3.5 and 5 per cent alcohol by volume.

Copyright Chris Shanahan 2013
First published 2 October 2013 in the Canberra Times