Cobra beer plans to expand venture with Molson Coors

M. Somasekhar Hyderabad | Updated on March 12, 2018

Mr Karan Bilimoria

To expand capacity of brewery in Patna

Molson Coors Cobra India will focus on expanding the capacity of its brewery in Patna, Bihar, and consolidating its brands in the first 18 months.

“We will soon announce three contracts for brewing the beer, as we set ourselves on building value for the brand under the new joint venture,” said Mr Karan Bilimoria, the Chairman of the new entity.

Molson Coors Cobra India is the 51:49 joint venture between Molson Coors of the US and Cobra Beer India Ltd. The present capacity of the company-owned brewery in Bihar is two million cases a year. Molson Coors plans to expand it to seven million cases a year.

The joint venture will see an initial investment of $35 million from Molson Coors, which is among the top six brewers in the world.

Talking to Business Line post the arrangement from London over telephone, Mr Bilimoria, founder of Cobra Beer, said, “During the last three years, Cobra Beer India operations were constrained because of financial problems. The company has been on the recovery path and has cut down losses. With the backing of Molson Coors, it will be able to bounce back.”

Asked about the impact of the venture on Indian operations, Mr Bilimoria said, “We have a strong management team in India now with Mr Ravi Kaza as the President, which has helped put the company on track. We will recruit some professionals as we expand.”

Ups and downs

After its launch in the Indian market in 2002, Cobra beer has had its ups and downs.

“We made some mistakes like having too many (nine) contract brewers, which was spreading it very thin. However, we have learnt from the mistakes and will grow, as the brand is unique being an Indian beer with a global presence. This feature will be exploited in the near future under the joint venture,” he said.

Cobra Beer had peak sales in summer of 5-6 million cases.

“The joint venture is a dream come true as I always believed the potential for beer was high in India as the country grew as a economic power. We can triple our sales in the next decade. As an entrepreneur who put the product into the market, I am happy to see it grow as a global brand,” he said.

Published on June 30, 2011

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