Auckland brewing company DB Breweries has acquired the licensing rights for Kingfisher beer from Bangalore-based United Breweries for an undisclosed sum.

From 2020, Kingfisher beer sold in New Zealand and Australia will be manufactured and distributed exclusively by DB Breweries, adding the popular beer brand owned by South India-based conglomerate to its portfolio which already includes international beer brands Tiger and Heineken.

Kingfisher beer sold in this country has been produced in New Zealand for more than a decade. DB Breweries will take over licensing from Independent Liquor, owned by parent company Asahi Beverages, in February.

DB Breweries sales director Paul Millward said the company was still "working through" where in the country it would produce Kingfisher beer but said it had the ability to do so with its current infrastructure.


Millward said DB Breweries was now focused on how it could manage the brand and grow its distribution across the country.

"Kingfisher, in terms of dollars of the beer category in New Zealand, [makes up] 1.5 per cent of the beer category so this is quite a significant brand. It's also the largest and fastest growing Asian beer brand in New Zealand," Millward said.

"We're pretty rapt with the win."

Any brand that was bigger than a share point in the market was considered significant, he said.

Kingfisher sales in New Zealand exceeded $16 million last year.

Growth in the craft beer category was slowing slightly while growth in the premium segment continued which meant acquiring the rights to Kingfisher in New Zealand and Australia would work in DB Breweries favour, Millward said.

"Kingfisher will be an exciting addition to our product offering and I know we've been chosen to distribute the product because of DB's ability to drive growth in the premium beer category," DB managing director Peter Simons said.

Simons said United Breweries were "impressed" by DB's footprint in New Zealand.

Paul Millward, sales director at DB Breweries. Photo / Supplied
Paul Millward, sales director at DB Breweries. Photo / Supplied

"We are excited to be taking on the brand and are preparing to lift its profile as part of our wider portfolio," he said.

"Our expert marketers are looking forward to getting stuck into the brand and working with our high performing sales and brewing teams to take Kingfisher in New Zealand to the next level."

Heineken, DB Breweries' parent company, holds a minority stake in United Breweries.

Kingfisher beer first launched in 1978 and is today India's most popular beer by sales volumes. The beer brand is sold in 52 countries.