British favorite Carling will strive to establish itself in Russia's stumbling beer market this fall, filling shelves left empty by the light American lager Coors Light, which has abandoned Russia after three years of disappointing sales.
Both brands are owned by the Molson Coors Brewing Company, which produces beer, malt beverages and energy drinks under established brands such as Coors, Carling and Blue Moon.
Founded in 2005 through a merger between Canada's Molson Inc. and the American company Adolph Coors, the company brought in $5.6 billion and made $437.6 million in profits during 2012, Kommersant reported.
“Our goal with Carling is to get 1 percent of the Moscow market in two to three years,” said Evgeny Pashper, a co-owner of Moscow Brewing Company, the producer and distributor of both Coors Light and Carling in Russia.
Moscow Brewing Company will begin producing Carling at its factory in Mytishchi, 3 kilometers from the Moscow Ring Road, in late September.
The beer will be released in half-liter glass bottles, as is typical in Russia, and priced at between 50 rubles and 60 rubles a bottle ($1.50-$1.80), like other prominent foreign brands like Tuborg and Bud.
Carling is the best-selling beer in Britain, taking 13.7 percent of British sales by volume in 2012, Euromonitor reported.
Molson Coors has twice released the low-calorie American staple Coors Light to Russia, but only managed to acquire 0.1 percent of the market, according to market research firm Nielsen.
“Due to the results in 2012, Molson Coors decided that the Russian market is not yet ready for the idea of light beer,” Kashper said.
By contrast low-calorie beer sells well in America, where the top two brands are Bud Light and Coors Light.
Carling will face a market rife with obstacles for new arrivals. It is illegal to advertise beer other than in the place of sale, and kiosks are now barred from selling alcohol.
The beer market shrunk by 7 percent in the first half of 2013 according to Carlsberg, which owns Russia's best-selling brand Baltika, Vedomosti reported.
Carlsberg and Efes have both estimated that the market would shrink a total of 4 to 6 percent this year.