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Murree Brewery seeks partner in India

Islamabad: The leading spirit maker of the country is looking for a partner in India to sell its malt beverage in the neighbouring country and harness international exports from there, as export of alcoholic drinks from Pakistan is banned.

“We gave a franchise to a company over a year ago but that deal has not really materialised so far,” Sabihur Rehman, special assistant to the chief executive of the Murree Brewery Company, said.

“But we are being approached by many Indian firms and a serious discussion is under way with a large Chandigarh-based distribution company, which wants a brewing franchise.”

Murree Brewery was among the foremost companies to develop partnership in India, taking advantage of a liberalized investment regime approved by the Indian government in July last year.

Under the agreement, Murree Brewery allowed Rahul Chandra of Bangalore-based Elpha Engineering and Project to produce and market its beer in India.
However, Mr Chandra has not been able to make any headway and after waiting for more than a year Murree Brewery has decided to look for another partner.
Although the company also produces vodka, gin and rum, its prime brands are single malt whiskies.

“But our speciality is beer as the company has been producing it since 1860,” Mr Rehman said.
The company had been getting good response from its joint venture in the Czech Republic, he said.

Under the agreement, Murree Brewery has not invested in India but its brand will be marketed by Elpha Engineering, which also has a brewery business.

Since export of beer is not allowed, the orders are to be met from overseas ventures.
The largest order for its beer has been placed from the United Arab Emirates.
Orders have also been received from Denmark and Norway, which were supplied from the Czech Republic, whereas the company is vying to market its products in Afghanistan from the European venture or India.

The sales figures from the European venture have not been encouraging, but the company expects better business soon after the economic recession there is over.

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