Sun, Nov 18, 2012 - Page 14 News List

Pakistan’s only brewery seizes 15 minutes of fame

The beer maker shot to fame in a celebrity scandal and is now seeking to capitalize on the publicity to cement its brand abroad

By Randy Fabi  /  Reuters, RAWALPINDI, Pakistan

However, Murree Beer faces a difficult road as a new player in the crowded US and European markets, dominated by the industry’s “big four” — Anheuser-Busch InBev, SABMiller, Heineken and Carlsberg.

The company’s last attempt to break into Western markets failed after it was forced to end its partnership with an Austrian brewery due to high costs and logistical problems.

Analysts say a few tabloid headlines will not be enough to be successful and Murree will also need a multimillion dollar promotional campaign. It is also unclear the type of consumer they are trying to sell their beer to, since most Pakistanis living abroad are Muslim and unlikely to drink alcohol.

“They are never going to be anything but a very niche player. It’s unlikely they will be able to push as hard as major brewers with their own niche lagers,” said a London-based stock analyst, who asked not to be identified because he did not cover Murree Brewery.

However, company officials are hopeful, particularly for the US market.

“Americans will drink anything. They are like fish,” Rehman said.

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