Budweiser beer hits market in Ukraine
America’s self-proclaimed “King of Beers” has hit Ukrainian shelves. As of last month, Budweiser made Ukraine the 87th country where its suds are sold.
And the brand’s owner, Anheuser-Busch InBev, announced that Ukraine is one of its eight priority markets along with Brazil and Russia.
Company officials said they by the end of the year their aim is for Budweiser to occupy 1 percent of the nation’s beer market and 4 percent in the premium and super-premium segment. The beer is brewed in SUN InBev Ukraine’s Kharkiv brewery, one of three plants the AB InBev subsidiary owns in Ukraine.
Budweiser’s entry is what marketing news agency AdAge recently called AB InBev’s attempt at turning the classic American brew “into a global powerhouse on the scale of Coca-Cola.”
While Coca-Cola has an estimated 25 percent global market share and is sold in 206 countries, the largest beer brand by market share is Snow with 5 percent, sold exclusively in China. According to AdAge, this is because beer is one of the products where big international brands have struggled to gain a foothold.
AB InBev uses the same marketing strategy for Budweiser everywhere, unlike competitor SABMiller, which focuses on regional brands with advertising catering to local cultures.
So far the strategy is working, with global volume rising by 3.1 percent in 2011 preceded by a 1.7 percent bump in 2010.
However, in America, Coors Light overtook Budweiser for the number one spot, “an embarrassing hit for the so-called King of Beers,” said AdAge. Yet it’s still the world’s 15th most valuable brand, according to BrandFinance Global 500.
In Ukraine, single, half-liter sized bottles and cans, as well as four, six and 20 packs of the beer are offered. Sun InBev is the leading Ukrainian beer company that sells eight beer brands with an approximate 36 percent market share and operates four beer cafes.
It sells local brands Chernihivske, Rohan, Yantar and Lowenbrau as well as multi-country brands Leffe and Hoegaarden, and global brands Stella Artois and Beck’s. The Chernihivske label was the number beer brand in 2011, according to ACNielsen Ukraine.
Ukrainian beer consumption remained almost flat in 2011 at an estimated 28.2 million hectoliters, domestic output declined 2 percent year-on-year, while imports grew 46 percent over same period, said Dragon Capital’s Tatjana Telezko.
The analyst said beer production in the first quarter of this year remained almost flat for same period last year at 5.24 million hectoliters.