McDowell launches Australian ready-to-drink Cruiser

NEW DELHI: Beverage alcohol manufacturer and marketer McDowell & Company Limited today announced a strategic alliance with Australia's Independent Liquor for the ready-to-drink (RTD) market in India.

Independent's Cruiser, the largest selling Australian RTD, was launched here today, marking the beginning of the partnership between the two.

Cruiser, an exotic fruit-flavoured vodka-based carbonated drink with an alcohol content of 4.8 per cent only, is being introduced in India in three unique flavours. Two of these - Raspberry and Passionfruit - have so far not been available in RTD category in India. The third is the popular 'Ice' flavour.

Cruiser will be rolled out nationally beginning with the launch in Delhi

today. In Delhi, only Raspberry and Passionfruit flavours have been

introduced. Cruiser is priced at Rs 40 for a 330 ml bottle.

The RTD market in India is expected to grow to about four lakh in the year 2003-'04.

"In view of RTDs being a new category in India, we have been seeking an international partner with rich expertise in the category. Independent's core competence is RTD. It is the world's third largest RTD player today. Its leadership in RTD is built on innovation. We believe together, we make a winning combination," McDowell president Vijay K Rekhi said in a press conference .

According to Independent Liquor MD Michael Erceg, "As a global

RTD player, we have been watching India's nascent RTD market with interest. We are pleased that our alliance with McDowell makes the introduction of Cruiser a reality today."

RTDs are a thriving 250 million cases (each case of 9 litre) market worldwide. In India, the category was introduced in second half of 2002.

The US $200 million Independent Liquor Group commands a market share of 32 per cent in the 26 million cases per annum Australian RTD market. Australia has the highest per capita consumption of RTD in the world. McDowell has a market share of 26 per cent and turnover of Rs 14,620 million in India.

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