Herald: Beer becoming more acceptable as a social drink in India: Bustamante

Beer becoming more acceptable as a social drink in India: Bustamante

29 Sep 2018 06:40am IST

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29 Sep 2018 06:40am IST

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The beer market in Goa is witnessing the entry of new players from all over the world and now the Spanish major Mahou has entered the market with its beers. The CEO of Mahou India, Fernando Bustamante answered questions emailed by AJIT JOHN about the entry into Goa and their expectations from this market.

HERALD: Goa is a small competitive market with all the players jostling for position, what are you offering to the customer that is different? What is your expectation from the Goa market?

FERNANDO BUSTAMANTE: We, at Mahou India, want to create a unique beer consuming experience for beer enthusiasts. We, therefore, have great expectations from the Goa market. The secret ingredient of our products is the yeast which is the exact same one that we use in Spain. It dates back to 1890 ever since the existence of the highest standards of the European brewing process that Mahou follows.

Also, for us, the experience lies in the whole pouring and drinking process. Pouring, for us, is a ritual where our beer, when poured properly, creates a beautiful layer of cream or foam on the top that protect the liquid and maintains the characteristic taste and flavours to the beer. We want to create a beer-loving culture where people enjoy beer responsibly. We want consumers to enjoy Mahou Cervezas (beers) the Spanish way! In Spain, beer is enjoyed in small glasses called ‘cañas’ always accompanied by small bites of food called ‘tapas’. 

We want to create the same culture here in India as well. For that, we are organizing events and activations in the on-trade market to promote this Spanish lifestyle of food and beer in a social context. These will soon become a regular practice for Indian party enthusiasts and Mahou will be an essential companion to the food. 

Currently, our Mahou India portfolio includes the following: Mahou Maestra Wheat is a Belgian style wheat beer that comes with a golden colour and thick and creamy foam. Its principal character is a fruity aroma and a slight hint of hops along with a refreshing feeling and a touch of sweetness that creates a well-balanced sensation in the palate. Its tangy hints of Sevillian (Spanish) orange peel and the herbal spicy notes of the organic coriander from the Himalayas, make it delectable and easy to drink. The signature recipe of Mahou Group – the yeast – further adds the uniqueness to its taste.

It goes well with a variety of authentic tapas of Spain like patatas bravas, olives, and croquettes or with Indian tapas such as paneer tikka, pakoras or seafood etc. Our portfolio also includes Mahou Clásica and Mahou 5 Star in the lager category. These refreshing and easy to drink beers have been well appreciated by consumers in the past three years of launch in other states of India.

HERALD: Who is your customer?

FB: Our target audience is the young urban millennial who has an appetite for beer drinking culture as a part of social interactions. He/she enjoys mild beer segment that has low alcohol content and wants to experience great taste. Our product – Mahou Maestra Wheat is the new and genuine interpretation of wheat beer by Mahou. With the trend of wheat beer along with the craft beer revolution in India, we want to cater to this set of consumers who want to try something new and are open to experimenting with new brands. We are sure that Mahou Maestra Wheat will delight the evolved consumers of today who are more informed - a master (maestra) in their lifestyle choices and are willing to embrace high-quality experiences.

HERALD: What is your assessment of the Goa market and the larger domestic Indian market?

FB: Goa is open to premium brands and gets a regular footfall from people across India. This beautiful tourist destination has the potential for beer brands like us to succeed. It is a perfect combination for us in terms of the consumer base and a great distributor who can help us get a good footprint in the market. With its popular party culture and food, Goa is a significant market for us.

Regarding the Indian beer market, beer consumption patterns have changed along with consumer tastes and preferences. Beer is becoming more acceptable as a social drink – and is consumed on occasions where people want to spend quality time together, which is a great opportunity for beer brands.

HERALD: How do you see this market evolve in the next five years in terms of consumption and taste?

FB: With a growing population of young adults who are increasingly more adoptive of premium brands in their focus towards a quality lifestyle, expectations for growth of the sector are particularly high. We are very positive and upbeat about the Indian beer market and are fully committed to it.

HERALD: You are involved in the sponsorship of two major football teams in Spain, would you consider such a relationship with a club in India?

FB: Football is an important part of our marketing campaign. The strong affinity that we, Indians are developing for football today is a common point between the two nations. Continuing our strong legacy of association with La Liga and being official sponsors of Real Madrid and Atlético de Madrid, we are now partners of La Liga India as well. We have also organised corporate football tournaments in the past where corporates like HDFC Bank, Deloitte, etc have participated. We are committed to the sport and are making consistent efforts to promote football in the country.

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