COPENHAGEN — Danish brewer Carlsberg has obtained the rights to the German brand Holsten in its important Russian market, which will strengthen its range of more expensive beers, the company said.
Carlsberg owns Holsten in Germany, but in Russia the brand had been produced by rival SABMiller until recently, when the British brewer joined forces with Turkish group Anadolu Efes in Russia and Ukraine.
The partnership between SABMiller and Anadolu Efes triggered a clause in a contract that forced SABMiller to hand Carlsberg the Russian rights to Holsten.
Until now, Carlsberg has not had a German brand in Russia.
"It is a positive move as we try to extend the portfolio where it makes sense," Carlsberg spokesman Ben Morton said last week. "There's demand from consumers for German beers in Russia, and Holsten satisfies that kind of demand."
Carlsberg plans to start producing Holsten at its breweries in St. Petersburg and Tula in the beginning of June.
Holsten is the fourth-largest brand in the Russian super-premium segment, which grew 3.2 percent in 2011 and accounted for about 8 percent of the total Russian beer market in volume.
Beers in the super-premium segment are sold at prices more than 50 percent above beers in the mainstream segment.
In 2011, Holsten had 25 percent of the total "German" segment in the Russian beer market and 50 percent of the super-premium German segment in Russia, Morton said.
The Russian beer market earns the Copenhagen-based Carlsberg group nearly half its profit.