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Tiger comes to town.

business Updated: Apr 20, 2008 00:31 IST
Mini Pant Zachariah
Mini Pant Zachariah
Hindustan Times
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Is a tiger a Tiger? Not sure when it comes to this beer, the latest to be launched in an already flooded market. The well-travelled beer buff would insist that the Indian version tastes slightly different from its global counterpart. But local brewers of the brand insist otherwise.

Beverage consultant Shatbhi Basu, however, says she has conducted blind tasting tests for die-hard beer buffs in general and found they cannot make out the difference.

This year, domestic beer consumption is expected to rise from 137 million cases a year to 150 million. But high import and excise duties make foreign brands unaffordable for most. Hence the scramble to produce the beer locally.

Basu points out that though American Budweiser has been around, people are taking to it now that it is locally produced and hence more reasonably priced — Rs 63 from Rs 75 a bottle. “Tiger has been in India for nearly 10 years but we had to produce it locally to bring it out of the five-star hotels,” says Vivek Chhabra, regional director (South Asia), Asia Pacific Breweries, the company that owns Tiger beer.

Market leader United Breweries, makers of Kingfisher beer, were forced in 2000 to introduce Kingfisher Strong because of then-arch rival Shaw Wallace’s success in strong beer. Says Rajeev Kakkar, group general manager with Western Court Hotel, Chandigarh, “For Punjabis, the idea of hard drinks is still something that knocks off their senses.” Bottomline? Indians like their beer a little less bitter, more fizzy and stronger.

(Inputs from Jasmine Singh in Chandigarh)