Bilimoria bags Monde Selection award
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Bilimoria bags Monde Selection award

Bilimoria now plans to launch a new bottle for the Cobra Beer which will chronicle the beer's story since its arrival in the UK.

india Updated: Dec 29, 2003 12:17 IST
Nabanita Sircar
Nabanita Sircar

Cobra Beer, produced by India-born Karan , has won the prestigious Monde Selection award for the third consecutive year, which also made it the recipient of the International High Quality Trophy 2003.

Bilimoria revealed that Cobra Beer was one of the two UK-based drinks chosen for the award, the other being Johnny Walker Whiskey. The Monde Selection Gold medal means recognition of Cobra beer as one of the very best of world-class beers. There is more to come from Bilimoria.

An ingenious move from him has attracted the attention of the British and European beer industry and also of the huge packaging and corking companies. He has launched a new bottle for his beer, that tells an interesting story.

The launch of the new ingeniously embossed bottle for Cobra at London's Vinopolis, the city's wine historic market, on Monday, was attended by the top personlaities from the beer and packaging companies here in Britain and Europe.

The newly packaged bottle, launched by Karan's father Lt Gen Bilimoria, bears six embossed icons depicting the story of Cobra beer,starting from the arrival of its first consignment to the UK from Mysore, where it was first brewed in 1970.

Being the son of a General of the Gurkha regiment, Karan has naturally chosen the insignia of the Gurkha regiment as the first embossment, followed by two elephants (a baby elephant following an adult) signifying their wisdom in learning lessons in lager. The third depiction is that of a snake charmer depicting 'charming beer' followed by a set of scales showing that all odds were against them at the start. Then comes the depiction of the beer's journey from Bangalore to Bedford and finally a ship with beer kegs signifying its global presence.

The beer that was, for the first time brewed in India, is now one of the fastest growing beer brands in the UK. Speaking at the launch of the new bottle, Bilimoria said: "Cobra is now exported from the UK to India where we pay 400 per cent duty."

Talking about the expansion of the company, Bilimoria, whose South African wines are already being exported to the US, said that in the last one year the company has opened offices in Mumbai, New York and Cape Town. In its new marketing blitz, Cobra ads, shot in Rajasthan near Jaipur will hit the TV and cinema screens in September.

Bilimoria, who recently became the joint chairman of the Indo-British Partnership, said the company is currently in negotiations to start production in India, expected to start in January next year.

Cobra Beer is expected to soon be available on draft in pubs across the country amidst plans of exporting the brand to the US where, Bilimoria informs: "We may have to use a different brand" as another brand by the name of King Cobra already exists in America.

A jubilant Bilimoria also informed that Cobra Beer had broken all sales records this month. The beer has gained popularity in a competitive market for being less gassy and extra smooth and an ideal accompaniment with Indian food, which is already one of the favourite cuisines in Britain. It is being served in about 5000 Indian restaurants in the country.

Asked why he chose the name Cobra that stings, Bilimorias said this cobra can be seen (on the bottle) smiling. "He is very friendly." Whatever it be, he has certainly weaved his way into many Indian establishments and is now entering mainstream pubs and bars. Another triumph of Indian endeavour and enterprise, "of aspiration and perseverance", the advice the General had given to his son.

The Hyderabad-born Bilimoria, in The Times list of 10,was the only Indian-origin person to get chosen list of 10 among publishers and politicians, royals and historians listed as people set to make an impact in the coming years.

First Published: Dec 25, 2003 21:33 IST