United Breweries appoints Debabrata Mukherjee as marketing head

INDIA – United Breweries, a subsidiary of Dutch beer giant, Heineken has appointed Debabrata Mukherjee, former Coca-Cola executive as its Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) effective in April.

He succeeds Samar Singh Sheikhawat who resigned from the company in August for personal reasons and will relocate from Gurugram to Bengaluru.

The former marketing head, Samar Singh Sheikhawat, who served in the role for eight years, saw the launch of several variants, starting from Kingfisher Storm to bringing several brands from its Dutch parent Heineken NV’s stable to India.

Mukherjee is also a former executive at HT Media which publishes the Hindustan Times paper, where he joined as an Executive Director in 2018 but stepped down less than a year into that role.

He is a veteran from Coca-Cola and joined the beverage giant as a sales manager back in 1998 before rising through the ranks to become the vice president of Coca-Cola India and south west Asia operations.

Mukherjee joins the Kingfisher beer maker at a time when growth in the beer industry has revived after regulatory changes in 2016 and 2017 which saw demonetisation, highway sales ban and GST stunting growth.

According to a CNN report, India’s roadside alcohol ban dealt US$10 billion blow to bar and restaurant shops.

India banned the sale of liquor near major roads in April 2017 but that is soon changing since almost 70% of the national and state highways across the country have been exempted from the Supreme Court’s order banning liquor shops within 500 meters of the stretches.

With improving regulatory conditions, beer makers are upping their marketing muscle to boost sales.

In May last year, United Breweries launched the popular Dutch beer brand, Amstel in India to expand on its super-premium brands portfolio while increasing its market share in this segment.

The launch was reported to address the growing demand for a premium, strong quality beer in the Indian market.

To increase its brand portfolio through quality crafted international premium beers, the brewer also unveiled Desperados, Dos Equis, Affligem, Edelweiss and Sol brands in the market.

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