Domestic brands dominate beer market

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No international beer brand has made it into the exclusive club of those whose annual sales exceed 50 million euros, while domestic brands such as Timisoreana, Bergenbier, Golden Brau, Ursus and Burger have all overshot this mark, by as much as tens of millions of euros in some cases, reveals a survey conducted by Ziarul financiar.
 
Whether part of multinationals’ portfolios or developed by the biggest independent brewers with several hundred years’ experience, or much younger, domestic brands are the leaders on a market that has topped 1.2bn euros.
 
Whereas ten years ago these brands were selling just several hundred thousand hectoliters or even less, in late 2007 more than five domestic beer brands generated sales worth above one million hectolitres, which could translate into at least 50 million euros.
 
Timisoreana, the best-selling beer brand in Romania, produced in 2002 less than 10 pct of Ursus Breweries sales, while in late 2007 the same brand accounted for almost half of volumes sold by the local branch of SABMiller group. With sales volumes of 2.2 million hectoliters in 2007, Timisoreana sales could this year hit 130-150m euros, according to Ziarul Financiar estimates. In terms of volume, Timisoreana sales surged 43 pct in the last fiscal year, and by 51% in terms of value.
 
Bergenbier, one of Timisoreana’s main local rivals, generates almost half of InBev’s domestic sales, according to previous statements by Mihai Ghyka, the company’s former general manager.
 
As a result, out of a sales volume of 3.9 million hectoliters registered by InBev last year, Bergenbier sold over 1.9 million hectoliters.
 
The best-selling brand in Heineken Romania’s portfolio is Golden Brau, with turnover worth around 100m euros, according to Ziarul Financiar estimates.
 
Starting this year, Heineken Romania’s portfolio will also include Sovata, Dracula and Neumarkt brands previously owned by Bere Mures. The production facilities owned by Bere Mures until the first half of this year had an annual capacity of 1.6 million hectoliters, and registered sales of 1.2 million hectoliters in 2007. After Neumarkt’s incorporation in Heineken Romania’s portfolio, Burger beer, part of the portfolio of European Drinks, owned by Micula brothers, is the only independent brand with large volumes that competes with multinationals’ brands.
 
Ursus is the best-selling brand on the on-premise segment both in terms of volume and value, according to a 2007 survey conducted by market research institute MEMRB. In overall retail Ursus held a 7-pct market share, followed by Ciucas, which accounted for 6 pct of the total domestic beer market.
 
The only domestic branch of a multinational that does not include any Romanian brand in its portfolio is URBB, controlled by Carlsberg Danish group. URBB, known domestically through the Tuborg and Skol brands, has only international or regional brands positioned on the premium segment in its portfolio.
 
Last year the beer market exceeded 1.2 billion euros and reached a volume of 19.4 million hectoliters, up 9.6 pct from the previous year, when it hit a sales volume of 17.7 million hectoliters.
 
Its growth in 2007 was smaller than the advance registered in 2006 due to lower sales in the last quarter of 2007.
 
This year, the main domestic brewers, Heineken Romania, Ursus Breweries, InBev Romania, European Drinks and URBB, expect the market to rise by approximately 5 pct.
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