London - The world’s second-largest brewer SABMiller [JSE:SAB]
launched its first global brand, Miller Genuine Draft (MGD), in China on Monday to drive its growth in the world’s biggest beer market.
The brewer operates in China through its CR Snow joint venture with China Resources Enterprise. This has grown rapidly to be the nation’s No 1 brewer, with a 21% market share and its Snow beer becoming the largest beer brand in China and the world.
The two are launching a trial of MGD in the eastern seaboard province of Zhejiang, just south of Shanghai, to compete in China with other international brands like Budweiser, owned by the world’s No 1 brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev.
SABMiller, which owns other global beer brands like Peroni and Grolsch, says it is looking to test the potential for its MGD beer imported from the United States in the major provincial cities of Hangzhou and Wenzhou.
SABMiller has seen rapid volume growth in China. It reported that underlying beer volumes grew 14% in its April-June quarter, slowing to 5% for its April-Sept half-year due to heavy rains in central China. It reports Oct-Dec third-quarter beer volumes on January 19.