India: AB InBev and Heineken to launch wheat beers

In order to fight growing competition from locally brewed wheat beers, AB InBev and Heineken, the two brewing giants which control together more than three-fourth of the Indian beer market have now both announced to launch their own products in addition to their imported wheat beers Hoegaarden (AB InBev) and Edelweiss (Heineken).

For this purpose AB InBev which has a beer market share of about 25% in India has set up a new Indian unit, 7 Rivers Brewing Co. and is going to introduce two wheat beer variants – Machaa and Veere – in the first week of November.

Heineken dominated United Breweries, beer market leader in India which controls about a half of the Indian beer market with brands like Kingfisher will also start selling its own locally produced wheat beer by the end of this year according to information gathered by The Economic Times India.

Like in other parts of the world, microbreweries in India with their specialty beers are on the rise and threaten sales of traditional breweries. In India more than 170 microbreweries have opened up in the last years.

Largest-selling beer style with those start-ups is mostly wheat beer. Most successful in this market is Bira91, one of the fastest growing craft beer brands in India which started importing its beers in 2015 from Flanders, Belgium before starting its own production in Gondia, a city and municipal council in the Indian state of Maharashtra (, 10.5.2018).

Other successful wheat beer brands are two Belgium-style wit beers. One is produced by White Rhino Brewing which was founded in 2016 by Ishaan Puri in Malanpur “in the very heart of India and a few hours from New Delhi”. The company claims to be the first craft beer to be brewed and bottled in India. The other one is Simba which was also launched in 2016 in Bhilai in Chhattisgarh by its founder and CEO Prabhtej Bhatia.

“We see a growing trend of specialty wheat beers across the top urban centers in the country and are confident that our brewing heritage, coupled with our age-old craftsmanship of brewing the best quality beer, positions us well to curate an exciting new offering,” said Ben Verhaert, AB InBev’s business unit president India and South Asia.

The beers will be produced at AB InBev’s brewery in Aurangabad, one of the 17 units that are operated by the company in India.

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