First local beer debuts | The Daily Star
11:00 PM, October 12, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:00 PM, October 12, 2009

First local beer debuts

A local company has launched the first Bangladeshi-brewed beer earlier this month to compete with high-priced imported peers.
At authorised liquor stores, a 330ml Hunter beer with 5 percent alcohol sells at up to Tk 100 to licensed drinkers.
The brewer -- Crown Beverage Ltd, a concern of Jamuna Group -- however said responses from the government-approved liquor retailing stores remain lukewarm.
“Our beer is still at introductory stages,” Md Nurul Islam, chairman of Jamuna, told The Daily Star yesterday.
Crown Beverage began brewing beer after receiving a licence from the Department of Narcotics Control, which granted the permission based on a verdict from the Supreme Court this year.
“But we have no scope to market the product openly. We will only be able to sell beer to those who have the licence to sell liquor to permitted drinkers,” he said.
Officials of the Department of Narcotics Control said the company would be able to sell its beer to off-shops, bars, clubs and hotels that have a permission to sell.
Crown Beverage debuts at a time when the market for beers is dominated by imported varieties. However, a bulk of foreign beers enters the local market through illegal channels.
The Jamuna Group chairman expects the local beer will curb the use of drugs such as Phensidyl among the youth.
“It will also help the government earn revenue,” he said.
According to officials at the Department of Narcotics Control, the government usually receives about Tk 50 crore in revenues from the sale and import of several types of liquor.
Nurul Islam said the company charges government-authorised liquor stores Tk 60 in wholesale prices for a Hunter beer.
Bars charge between Tk 150-Tk 160 for a Hunter beer, while the price of imported beers, such as Heineken, stands at about Tk 250 at city inns.
“We are trying to ensure that the price of our beer is Tk 100 at the authorised liquor stores, so that the price remains within affordable limits,” he said.
Crown Beverage is advancing slowly despite having a plant at Shafipur, Gazipur with a capacity of brewing 30 tonnes of beer a day with the major raw materials -- malt and hops -- being imported from abroad.
“We are brewing about 2 tonnes of beer a day as the market is not fully aware of our product," said the chairman, expecting the company to record good sales after at least six months.
“We have plans to export,” he said. “For that we will have to set up a bottling plant.”

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