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SABMiller to launch new premium beer in South Africa

27 March 2007

SABMiller announces that its South African subsidiary, The South African Breweries Ltd (SAB), is launching a new premium beer called Hansa Marzen Gold.  The beer, which is an extension of the highly successful Hansa brand in South Africa, will be available from April.

Hansa Marzen Gold is the first locally developed but internationally based beer to be introduced to South Africa in many years.  Heavily influenced by the German brewing tradition, Hansa Marzen Gold is neither a pilsner nor a regular lager, but a ‘marzen-style’ German beer, with a special recipe using slow roasted amber malt as a key ingredient.  It is brewed for significantly longer than regular beer styles and together with its unique flavour, will set the product apart in the premium category.

Its look and feel is distinctly premium in a green bottle with copper foiling.  Amber malt prepared at high temperatures gives the brew a deep amber hue, a rich malty aroma and brewhouse flavour.  It is brewed using four different malt types and uses the classic Hallertau Pearlē hop from Hallert in Germany.  The product has an alcohol content of 5.2%.

Given that a significant slice of the South African market is in returnable bottles, Hansa Marzen Gold will be available in a 750ml (quart) returnable bottle, a 340ml non-returnable bottle and 340ml can.

The announcement of the new brand is well timed; as it is named after the German word for March, indicating the beginning of spring in Europe.  Brewers in 12th century Germany were the first to devise ways of allowing their beer to mature through the hot summer months by brewing in March and storing their beer in alpine caves until September.  Kegs would then be cracked at local town celebrations, and popular mythology holds that this was the origination of the now famous Oktoberfest.

Hansa Marzen Gold will be available at leading outlets in Gauteng in the first week of April and will be rolled out nationally over the following two weeks. As a premium product, it will be sold at a 20% premium to mainstream products such as Castle.

Commenting on the announcement, Tony Van Kralingen, Managing director of SAB, said:

“The Hansa brand is all about being different.  The original Hansa Pilsener – now one of the top three selling South African beers with Castle and Carling Black Label – effectively changed the rules by being the first pilsener to be introduced into South Africa in 1975. The launch of Hansa Marzen Gold carries on this tradition by presenting South Africans with a totally new beer type.

“Consumer testing far exceeded our expectations and ultimately, this new product is all about giving South African consumers more choice in the fast-growing premium segment.”

The company yesterday confirmed that it was also extending its popular Peroni Nastro Azzurro premium brand into draught, which will be available throughout South Africa.


Notes to editors

About SABMiller plc

SABMiller plc is one of the world’s largest brewers with brewing interests or distribution agreements in over 60 countries across six continents. The group’s brands include premium international beers such as Miller Genuine Draft, Peroni Nastro Azzurro and Pilsner Urquell, as well as an exceptional range of market leading local brands.  Outside the USA, SABMiller plc is also one of the largest bottlers of Coca-Cola products in the world.

In the year ended 31 March 2006, the group reported US$15,307 million in revenue and profit before tax of $2,453 million.  SABMiller plc is listed on the London and Johannesburg stock exchanges.

This announcement is available on the company website:


SABMiller plc  
Tel: +44 20 7659 0100

Sue Clark
Director of Corporate Affairs
Tel: +44 20 7659 0184

Gary Leibowitz
Senior VP, Investor Relations
Tel: +44 20 7659 0174

Victoria McNamee
Corporate Media Relations Manager
Tel: +44 20 7659 0172

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