Carlsberg corners the luxury beer market

Scandinavia’s biggest brewery, Carlsberg, recently introduced a beer which is guaranteed to put win first prize in at least one category: cost. The beer which is being advertised as “probably the best beer in the world” is also the world’s most expensive bottle, available for sale for just $396.47 a bottle.

The inspiration behind the beer came from the luxury wine market where connoisseurs hardly blink an eye at a bottle for $400. The brewery is hoping to capitalise on increasing levels of individual wealth.

According to Forbes magazine, the number of billionaires increased by 21 per cent last year. Sixteen of the world’s 946 billionaires recognised by Forbes live in Denmark and have possibly acquired a taste for Carlsberg beer.

The beer will soon be on sale in three restaurants in Copenhagen. One of the restaurants was ranked 15th in the world in 2007 by S. Pellegrino. The Michelin two-star restaurant, Noma, will be putting the $400 beer on their menu soon.

Noma’s restaurant chief, Lau Richter said: “We can feel that there’s an increasing market for this type of product, as some of our customers order extremely expensive wines without blinking an eye.”

Carlsberg says that just 600 bottles of the Vintage No.1 beer have been produced and will sell at a cost 357 times higher than their popular Danish lager. The company has plans to release another version of the brew next year and in 2010.

Despite the high cost of the four fifth of a pint bottle, the company says it is not expecting to make a profit on the 10.5 per cent alcohol beer. No one will say how much time was spend developing the recipe, but the effort seems to have been considerable.

The Vintage No. 1 beer will not be exported; however a few bottles should be on sale soon on the brewery’s website.

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