United Breweries Group

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United Breweries Limited
Founded1857; 164 years ago (1857)
FounderVittal Mallya
Area served
Key people
Vijay Mallya (Chairman)
RevenueIncrease INR 4290 crores (US$ 588 Million) (March 2021) [1]
OwnerUBHL (11.04%) and Heineken International (61.5%)
Number of employees
50,000 (2017)[2]
SubsidiariesMangalore Chemicals & Fertilizers, UB Overseas Limited, Kingfisher Training and Aviation Services Ltd, UB Infrastructure Projects Ltd, United Breweries Of America Inc., UB International Trading Ltd., UB Electronic Instruments Ltd., Kingfisher Finvest India Ltd., United Spirits, Mendocino Brewing Company
A Kingfisher beer advertisement in Goa
A Kingfisher beer advertisement in Goa

United Breweries Holdings Limited (UBHL) or UB Group is an Indian conglomerate company headquartered in UB City, Bangalore, Karnataka. Its core business includes beverages and investments in various sectors. The company markets beer under the Kingfisher brand, and owns various other brands of alcoholic beverages. It also launched Kingfisher Airlines, an airline in India whose operation has been halted after problems in 2014 that led to its licence being revoked by the DGCA.[3] United Breweries is India's largest producer of beer.[4]

The company chairman is Vijay Mallya, who left India on 2 March 2016, allegedly to escape legal action by Indian banks to whom he owes some 9,000 crore (US$1.2 billion) in loans. United Breweries now has greater than a 40% share of the Indian brewing market with 79 distilleries and bottling units across the world. In 2005, UB financed a takeover of the spirits business of the rival Shaw-Wallace company, giving it a majority share of India's spirits business.[5] The group also owns the Mendocino Brewing Company in the United States.


The UB Group was founded by a Scotsman, Thomas Leishman, in 1915, when he brought together Castle Brewery and Nilgiris Breweries (1857), Bangalore Brewing Co. (1885), British Brewing Corp. (1903) and BBB Brewery Co. Ltd. (1913). The Group took its initial lessons in manufacturing beer from South India based British Breweries. At the age of 22, Vittal Mallya was elected as the company's first Indian director in 1947. After a year, he replaced R. G. N. Price as the chairman of the company.

United Breweries made its initial impact by manufacturing bulk beer for the British troops before independence, which was transported in huge barrels or "Hogsheads". Kingfisher, the group's most visible and profitable brand, made a modest entry in the sixties. During the 1950s and 60s, the company expanded greatly by acquiring other breweries. First was the addition of McDowell as one of the Group subsidiaries, a move which helped United Breweries to extend its portfolio to wines and spirits business. Strategically, the Group moved into agro-based industries and medicines when Mallya acquired Kissan Products and formed a long-term relationship with Hoechst AG of Germany to create the Indian pharmaceutical company now known as Aventis Pharma, the Indian subsidiary of the global pharma major Sanofi-Aventis.

UB Group has had some relationship with United Spirits Limited, which is now majority-owned (54.8%) by Diageo.


The Pegasus, which is the symbol of the United Breweries, first found its place as the Group logo in 1941.[citation needed] Then, the Helladic horse – associated with beer and nectar in Greek mythology – carried a beer cask between the wings, ostensibly because beer formed the core operations of the Group. Later, the beer cask was removed to represent the Group's multifaceted operations.

Key subsidiaries[edit]

  • United Breweries Limited – the UB Group's brewing entity, which has undisputed market leadership with a national market share in excess of 50%. The UB Group today controls 60% of the total manufacturing capacity for beer in India. As of March 2016, United Breweries was 43%-owned by Heineken.[6]
  • UB Engineering – the group's engineering business arm. It undertakes engineering, procurement and construction projects, infrastructure, on-site fabrication of structures, installation, testing and commissioning of electrical and mechanical equipment, piping for large industrial projects. The company was initially established as Western India Erectors in 1963 and came under the UB Group in 1988.
  • UBICS – providing IT consulting, body shopping services and professional IT products to business companies.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "United Brewery Ltd". The Economic Times. The Times Group.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Essar Group. 23 June 2010. Archived from the original on 10 August 2013. Retrieved 11 July 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "economic express".
  4. ^ Gupta, Soumya (26 December 2017). "Kingfisher's market share drops as foreign beer brands gain ground". livemint. HT Media.
  5. ^ "Mallya bottles Shaw Wallace". The Telegraph. 22 March 2005.
  6. ^ "While everyone's scrapping over Vijay Mallya, Heineken moves in on United Breweries". Firstpost. 15 March 2016. Retrieved 25 September 2018.

External links[edit]