INDIA – The world leading brewer, Anheuser Busch InBev (AB InBev) has ventured into the fashion clothing segment with the launch of a new retail firm, Budweiser Streetwear Co., to help the company diversify its operations amid the shrinking sales due to prolonged closure of retail channels.

According to a report by ET Retail, the retail firm, Budweiser Streetwear Co will make and market apparel and face masks and has partnered fashion and lifestyle brand, Myntra to sell the brand.

Kartikeya Sharma, South Asia president at AB InBev said that the “diversification will help us explore a new business line with our patrons as well as build a new consumer base,” adding that the company had earlier tied-up with designers to launch limited range of street wear collection.

The company’s original launch plan during Jan-March quarter, was hindered due to the pandemic that forced government to lockdown most non-essential operations. While liquor retailing was re-opened, high taxes led to a sharp fall in the beer category, the source cited earlier revealed.

Budweiser Streetwear will retail T-shirts, sweatshirts, tops and track pants for younger consumers. “With Unlock 1.0 in action, our consumers are seeking fresh opportunities to adapt to the new reality,” said Sharma indicating it is early to give an outlook on revenues for the new segment.

Commenting on the move, Alexander Lambrecht, VP Marketing, South Asia, AB InBev, said: “We are thrilled to announce the launch of Budweiser Streetwear Co. in association with Myntra, a platform that has grown exponentially over the years, and established itself as the go-to when it comes to fashion.

“We are firm believers of investing in avenues that resonate with the passion points of our patrons, in a meaningful and differentiated manner. Our foray into the apparel sector in 2019 was underlined by this very objective, and the launch of Budweiser Streetwear yet another step in that direction.

“This synergy will enable us to connect with the burgeoning street community of India, aiding us in our continual effort of creating and nurturing culture. The safety of our stakeholders is a top priority for us and with the pandemic-induced challenges, we have also introduced masks that are fashion-forward in aesthetic, but are extremely essential to cope with the current situation.”

With the move, AB InBev joins its competitors in India; United Spirits and makers of Bira 91beer, B9 Beverages who have also ventured lifestyle merchandise to diversify their revenues.

The diversification is expected to benefit alcoholic beverages in the country and cushion them from the falling volumes. India’s total alcoholic beverages sales volume growth crashed to 3.4% in 2019, from about 11% in the year before, due to a slowing economy which negatively impacted consumer demand, according to data from IWSR Drinks Market Analysis.

At the same time, the Covid-19 crisis has further painted a glim future in the sector. A recent research by IWSR Drinks Market Analysis indicates that the global beverage alcohol market will this year fall into a 12-year low and take the next five years to rebound.

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