Is Kingfisher Beer the King: When You Cover More than 50% of the Market Share?

Available in 52 other countries, the leading Indian beer brand in international markets, United's Kingfisher beer has more than 50% market share in India.


Kingfisher, an Indian beer brewed by United Breweries Group, Bangalore was launched in 1978. Ranked 74th among India’s most trusted brands according to the Brand Trust Report 2012, it has a market share of nearly 50 percent in India and is available across 52 countries in the world. According to the Brand Trust Report 2014, Kingfisher was ranked 198th among India’s most trusted brands. From 2009 to 2015, United Spirits (USL) / Diageo exited all non-core investments in United Breweries and sold 850,000 INR shares to Heineken, giving them the leverage of managing affairs of India’s largest beer producer. Today, The Heineken Group holds 42.4% equity shares in United Breweries Ltd giving them an upper hand over Vijay Mallya in running the company.

About Kingfisher and United Breweries 

United Breweries Holdings Limited (UBHL) is an Indian conglomerate company headquartered in UB City, Bangalore in the state of Karnataka and is India’s largest producer of beer. Their core business includes beverages but they have diversified into other sectors including Kingfisher airlines in 2003 which however reported losses since its commencement. Mallya and his team have been reported to have failed to follow due diligence crashing down their entire empire. Kingfisher suffered a loss of over ₹10 billion (US$140 million) for three consecutive years. 

Other Indian Brewery Start-ups 

  • White Owl 

Mumbai-based, Award-Winning Brewery, White Owl is known for handcrafting beer with an extensive craft beer portfolio. Focusing on small-batch brewing, as of August 2019, White Owl distributes its craft beer on Tap, in Bottles and in Cans at over 2,500 restaurants, bars & retail stores across Mumbai, Pune, Goa, Bengaluru & Delhi.

  • Medusa Beer

Catering to the needs of the younger crowd, Avneet Singh founded Medusa Beverages in April 2017 and began its operations in January 2018.  The brand made a turnover of Rs 150 crore in 2019 implying the huge demand for craft beer across the country. After launching in Delhi, Medusa Beverages is now present in Punjab, UP, and Chhattisgarh. 

  • Kati Patang 

The Indian craft beer brand is available at liquor outlets across Bengaluru and Delhi. The company recently launched its Zesty Amber Ale brewed in Bhutan with access to the purest Himalayan spring water that enhances the flavour of the beer.

  • White Rhino Brewing Co.

India’s first craft brewery, White Rhino was founded in 2016 in Malanpur, heart of the Chambal region. They aim to bring both quality and variety to the Indian beer market. 

What is in it for you?

There is a huge demand for craft beer across the country. But there is a huge gap between demand and supply in the beer market. When United Breweries started out, there were no big competitors in the Indian beer market, which gave them the leverage to optimise the beer consuming population. 

They focused on one product and marketed it based on the heritage and cultural history of the Indian subcontinent which helped them expand overseas. In Spite of the controversies and scandals around Mallya, Kingfisher continues to be a leading brand in Indian beers because of the trust the brand has instilled in consumers far and wide. Targeting the right consumers is important but earning their trust is the winning goal. Handcrafted beers are popular in the market now, pick your unique ingredients, focus on quality and not quantity, especially when you start out. 

Small batch brewing has helped several brewing companies to scale and expand in the past few years. Disrupting the beer brewing industry is difficult but not impossible. So, go ahead, win hearts through a pint of beer and happy brewing!

Smruthi Krishnan
Smruthi Krishnan
Smruthi interviews and writes on inspiring entrepreneurs and the success stories of start-ups. She is currently pursuing Economics major from Delhi University.

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