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Scotch whisky makers expand Indian cocktail

Last updated on: April 29, 2011 13:36 IST

Reghu Balakrishnan in Mumbai

Top liquor manufacturers like Beam Global Spirits & Wine, Diageo and United Spirits Ltd, are busy expanding their high-end Scotch whisky portfolios to meet the growing demand from Indian connoisseurs.

Rising income has allowed consumers to upgrade not just from country liquor to Indian-made foreign liquor, but also to better brands.

In fact, the Scotch whisky consumer and premium whisky segments have grown 15 and 26 per cent, respectively, in the last four years.

The domestic Scotch market is estimated at Rs 850 crore (Rs 8.5 billion) in terms of net sales value, while the premium whisky market is pegged at Rs 1,300 crore (Rs 13 billion).

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Scotch whisky makers expand Indian cocktail

USL, India's largest spirits company, recently launched a new variant of Black Dog, the 126-year-old brand with Scottish credentials, to meet the demand.

The Black Dog Reserve 18 Year Old -- created by the Whyte & Mackay master blender, Richard Paterson -- is the first 18 YO Scotch from the USL portfolio.

Anant Iyer, business head, luxury brands, USL, said, "The increase in affluence, coupled with a change in mindset of consumers, who are amenable to spend more on image enhancing or experiential brands, has meant that lifestyle categories (like Scotch) will see robust growth.

"The company or brand, which creates the maximum affinity with the consumer through initiatives connoting aspirational luxury, will be ahead of the curve."

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Scotch whisky makers expand Indian cocktail

Beam Global Spirits & Wine, the largest US-based spirits company, recently launched Laphroaig 18YO Scotch to tap the rising high-end liquor market in India.

It also sells Laphroaig 10YO and Laphroaig Quarter Cask Malt in India. In blended Scotch whisky, Beam Global's Teacher's is one of the largest-selling brands in India.

The flagship brand, growing at a compounded annual growth rate of 25 per cent in India, has brands like Teacher's Highland Cream, Teacher's50 12 Years Old and Teacher's Origin.

The domestic blended Scotch whisky market stands at one million cases (one case is equivalent to nine litres).

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Scotch whisky makers expand Indian cocktail

Of this, premium brands account for 200,000 cases and regular brands for 600,000 cases, according to the International Wine and Spirit Research.

Harish Moolchandani, managing director - India & sub-continent, Beam Global Spirits & Wine India, said, "We see a strong profitable growth for our portfolio based on current consumer and economic indicators. We have exciting new launches planned ahead within the Teacher's portfolio. Having said this, we are serious to build our Bourbon and Tequila businesses in the country."

Jim Beam and Maker's Mark bourbon are the largest-selling bourbon whiskeys in the world.

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Scotch whisky makers expand Indian cocktail

Diageo, another global beverages company, has already made his presence felt in the high-end liquor brand space in India, with liquids like Johnnie Walker Blue Label King George V, Johnnie Walker Blue Label, Johnnie Walker Gold Label, The Singleton of Glen Ord and Talisker Single Malt Scotch Whiskies.

Abanti Sankaranarayan, marketing director for Diageo India, said, "The Indian luxury consumer is value conscious and the criteria looked for when purchasing luxury goods are quality and craftsmanship.

"Diageo recognises there is significant potential for premium and luxury spirit brands, and is subsequently placing investment behind growing the business in India."

This month, Radico Khaitan tied up with Japan's Suntory Liquors to launch the latter's two super premium whisky brands, Yamazaki 12 YO and Hibiki 17 YO, in India.

Source: source