Alcoholic drinks market booming in Muslim Gulf

on 10/03/11 at 11:32 am

Booze News

Qatar duty free

Targeting observant Muslims with non-alcoholic drinks is also a key strategy albeit a tougher sell for companies whose names are synonymous with beer or hard liquor.

Heineken credits its mix of drinks – such as fruit-flavoured malt-based drinks popular among youth as a beer substitute – for its expansion into the Middle East and North Africa market.

It has a 40 percent market share in the United Arab Emirates, 70 percent in Lebanon and 90 percent in Egypt.

For the brewer, the Gulf Arab market is a small but profitable one, with a limited number of competitors amid a growing expatriate population.

As more international sporting and entertainment events take place in the Gulf – the region is already on the global sporting calendar for Formula One, tennis, golf and horse racing – alcoholic drinks makers see more opportunity for market growth.

“The vision of many Gulf states to become increasingly important in the world market through significant events opens business opportunities for us,” said Diageo’s Ewing.

“We have already begun talks with the Qatar duty free and hope to have a good presence in the new airport.”

{Full story via Reuters}

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