Asahi Group lines up China launch for Pilsner Urquell, Peroni Nastro Azzurro

Asahi Group is to launch two of SABMiller's European beers in China as the brewer continues to expand its footprint, according to a report.

Czech brand Pilsner Urquell and Italy's Peroni Nastro Azzurro will roll out in Shanghai and other major Chinese cities next spring, Nikkei Asian Review said today. Prices are set to be higher than for Asahi's Super Dry brand, the newspaper said without giving details.

Super Dry costs three times as much as local brands in China, where the premium beer market is growing faster than lower tiers.

Asahi's takeover of SAB's former beer assets, including Grolsch, Peroni Nastro Azzuro and Pilsner Urquell, has enabled it to expand outside of Japan. The brewer last year set up a European headquarters, Asahi Europe, with units in the UK, France, Italy and the Netherlands.

As well as launching the European brands in new markets, Asahi has also been able to prepare for Super Dry production in Europe through the brewing assets bought from SABMiller. The company will start selling Super Dry in Italy and the UK from January, Asahi's president Akiyoshi Koji told Bloomberg in an interview in September.

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