Current Issue: June 2014

 
 

In this Issue:

 
ABD to launch OC Black in 5 new markets this year
Remy moves ahead in India's luxury landscape
Ian Macleod: Growing well in Duty Free in India
Bavarian royalty Kaltenberg in India
Tiger 'uncages' bold new campaign
Riona to launch new wines in India
IMPORTED SPIRITS - FOOD SAFETY TANGLE
Trip to the home of Lambic: Cantillon Brewery
Vinexpo Asia-Pacific 2014 A dynamic and modern vintage
The Gin Renaissance Report on London's Recent Gin Symposium
 
 
 

ABD to launch OC Black in 5 new markets this year

Reaches principle agreement with UTO on Mansion House brand.
With the sales of 25 million cases in the financial year 2014, Allied Blenders and Distillers (ABD) has grown at an exponential rate of 24% in 2014 as opposed to the 2% of the IMFL industry in the same period. In an exclusive one-on-one with Ambrosia, Deepak Roy, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO, ABD speaks about the company's performance and the industry roadmap.

For someone who has been batting for premiumisation since a longtime, the year 2014 has yielded fruitful results. Not only has ABD managed to achieve the highest sales in terms of volumes in its history but also successfully managed to move towards premiumisation feels Roy. But what is more exciting and encouraging for him is that the company has already given a glimpse of what it can achieve in the FY'15, with the growth rate touching approximately 26% in first two months. "We might achieve a growth of 28% in the first quarter of 2015," he added.

Riding on the wave of the biggest selling brand Officer's Choice, the company introduced its premium Blue version about two years ago. In the last financial year Officer's Choice Blue crossed 3.5 million cases, a feat that Roy is particularly proud of since it's the first time in two years time that a brand has managed to achieve something like this. The brand registered a growth of 156% as compared to the semi premium whisky segment by 19% over FY'14, and ABD is confident that they will cross 5.5 million cases this year.

 

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Remy moves ahead in India's luxury landscape

Remy Cointreau India has made progress in the market with its ultra premium offerings tapping into a market which is growing slowly but steadily. Given the intricacies of the emerging aspirational consumer, the company is looking for strengthening its foothold in the year to come. Ambrosia speaks to Rukn Luthra, Managing Director- India Subcontinent and Gulf, to find out more.

How are your brands Remy Martin cognac and Cointreau liqueur doing now in India?
When it comes to Remy Martin, one must see that India is not a cognac country per se and so our effort is basically on two fronts. One is to build the cognac category itself and then within the cognac category to increase the market share for Remy Martin. The cognac market has to come together to grow, so we're leading the way through our efforts in the premium cognac segment. Over the last two years there's been an increase in market share for us. The market may be small right now but our numbers are taking shape.

With Cointreau we've been persistent too. What we find is that Cointreau is mainly used as an ingredient in classic cocktails and that culture is on the rise. So in a sense, our effort is to increase the cocktail culture which is what is happening in other parts of the world too. We've also identified and implemented our campaign of "Be Cointreauversial". We're working on both fronts with the consumer and with the trade to look at Cointreau as the right ingredient. So both brands are doing well, despite small numbers.

 

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Ian Macleod: Growing well in Duty Free in India

Ambrosia team caught up with Jonathan Scott, Area Director (Asia Pacific), Ian Macleod Distillers, at Vinexpo, Hong Kong. With years of experience in the trade, Scott shares his insights on Asia Pacific market and discusses some trends in the alcobev industry.

Jonathan Scott spoke candidly about the scope of the alcobev industry in India and Asia Pacific at large. He seemed very positive about the growing nature of Duty Free in India. "The duty free sector in the country has changed recently. The operators are doing a terrific job and the overall experience is surprisingly good. Travel retail sector has great potential in India as they not only showcase established brands but also give enough space to promote new and niche products. As far as Ian Macleod is concerned, we have travel retail exclusives as well. Glengoyne is one brand that has been very successful in this sector. Another one is Smokehead Islay Single Malt Scotch, with its trendy packaging especially targeting the younger market."

On being asked what he thinks of the recent trend of whisky/Scotch and food pairings, Scott says, "Connoisseurs are coming up with workshops around whisky/Scotch and Indian food pairing. Such activities are helpful in increasing the level of awareness among the drinking populace."

 

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Bavarian royalty Kaltenberg in India

The taste of German royalty has made its way through Meghalaya in India. With India gaining momentum as a strong beer market, multinationals are getting attracted to the potential of the emerging consumer base in the country. Kaltenberg, Germany's royal beer recently entered the Indian market.

CMJ Breweries in association with Konig Ludwig International introduced the authentic German beer "Kaltenberg" in India. As a part of the licensing agreement CMJ breweries Private Ltd. will manufacture and distribute the famous premium brand pan India. The first beer to be launched in India through this association is Kaltenberg Royal Lager, followed by Kaltenberg Royal Strong in the next few months.

Kaltenberg will be brewed at its state of art CMJ Brewery in Meghalaya aptly known as Scotland of the east. Only those breweries are allowed to brew Kaltenberg beers which guarantee compliance of all Royal Bavarian brewing standards and specification and CMJ Brewery is one of them. The fully automated green field brewery has been set up at Byrnihat with a cost of about `125 crores. CMJ Brewery has also set up 100 KLPD state of art grain based Extra Neutral Alcohol (ENA) plant at Byrnihat with and investment of Rs250 crores. The ingredients for this beer come all the way from Germany and are produced as per German purity laws which are strictest all over the world.

Commenting on the launch of this German favourite in India, Rohit Jain, Chairman, CMJ Breweries said that, "We are extremely delighted to introduce one of the world's oldest beer brand to the beer connoisseurs in India. Brewed under the German Purity Law, this will be India's first super premium beer available at half the price of an imported beer in India. Through launch of this brand, we aim to capture about 1-2% of the premium beer market in India in next 3-5 years."

 

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Tiger 'uncages' bold new campaign

Tiger Beer bold new campaign features short films on Asian personalities who have forged their own paths.


Tiger Beer recently launched its latest campaign, called 'Tiger Uncage' which is designed to show that the brand is proud of its Asian roots and wants to showcase this to the world. 'Tiger Uncage' does this by showcasing Asian talent illustrating how these talents forged their own paths, breaking free from conformity.

The campaign runs counter to traditional beer advertising themes and aims to connect with young adults in a personal way, to inspire them to realize their potential. The iconic Asian beer brand is portraying itself as a symbol of courage to inspire people to 'ignite the Tiger inside' and take the leap to follow their dreams.

"Tiger is a brand that was created and cultivated in Asia. With 'Tiger Uncage' we aim to make everyone take notice of the incredible talent, creativity and passion that is now coming out of Asia," said senior regional marketing and sales director at Heineken Asia Pacific, Cyril Charzat.

 

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Riona to launch new wines in India

Italian JV wine maker, Enzo Mecella & Doriano Marchetti, the President of Terre Cortesi Moncaro Italy accompanied by K.T.Mane, MD-COO Riona Wines Pvt. Ltd. And Kishor Kulkarni, General Manager-Sales & Marketing Riona Wines spoke to Vincent Fernandes over lunch at the Leela Kempinski.

It was business as usual at the Leela Kempinski despite the death of Capt. Nair the man behind the Leela Group. Naturally it is the guests interest that take precedence and as we settled down at their restaurant for a formal meeting to discuss and understand their future plans.

Riona Wines Pvt. Ltd which imports some of the best wines from the Marche region and has a state-of-the-art winery, was also set up in the wine hub city Miraj, in Sangli is a joint venture and technical collaboration with the leading Italian wine producing companies, Terre Cortesi Moncaro & Cantina Enzo Mecella owned by Doriano Marchetti & Enzo Mecella respectively. Currently they have a portfolio of 13 brands, which are being imported and will be adding additional 10 wine brands including sparkling wines in white and red this year to their portfolio.

Says Enzo Mecella, it has been a quiet year for the two Italian wineries given the European crisis. But we are looking at growth with newer wines. They have introduced some 21 new varieties of which some will be in the Indian market next month. Our experience of the market tells us that these brands will make a difference. International markets account for 55% of our revenues of which 40% are from the European market. China, Japan and US are also important markets for us.

 

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IMPORTED SPIRITS - FOOD SAFETY TANGLE
A category snapshot

The importers of premium foreign liquor into India, some of whom have so far been in a stretched out deadlock with the country's Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), may just see light at the end of the tunnel with the change in the government and a promised policy of economic reform.

FSSAI regulations have placed on hold scores of product consignments citing labeling concerns. Imports from EU nations are particularly hit and according to industry insiders it is not surprising that the trading bloc has hit back through measures such as suddenly banning mango imports from India on grounds of contamination.

That the labelling controversy comes ahead of a time when the EU is hoping for progress on the Free Trade Agreement talks with India, the business signals coming out of the country have until now been mixed but hopes have risen that progress will now be made under the new regime. While multinational companies have sufficient backbone to absorb the tremors, individual import houses are hit heavily, with many consignments stuck up at customs. Many in the industry are all for health safety and quality control, but feel the implementation and certain aspects of the regulations are 'counterproductive'.

Be that as it may, the International Spirits and Wines Association of India (ISWAI), which represents the top multinationals in the country, take an entirely different position on the matter.

 

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Trip to the home of Lambic: Cantillon Brewery

The idea of visiting the oldest brewery in Brussels still doesn't prepare you for what you find in Cantillon. The small family run brewery founded in 1900 looks anything but a brewery from outside. Located in a rather remote and slightly notorious side of the beautiful Brussels city, Cantillon can surprise you in many ways. As my Belgian friend and beer expert Jan Foubert rightly said during our visit to Cantillon, "Either you love this style of beer or you completely hate it. There's no mid-way".

If you are not paying attention there are chances that you will miss the entrance to Cantillon brewery. Nestled in the neighbourhood of rue Gheude, Brussels, the doors of Cantillon open century old heritage of traditional brewing techniques practiced in the city. Lambic, Gueuze, Faro and Kriek, Cantillon has mastered the art of producing all styles of beers that Belgium is known for. As we enter the factory like set up, we are greeted by a staff member for whom welcoming outsiders to the brewery is as regular as opening doors for visitors to a tourist place. I say 'tourist place' because the 'must do list' of all travelers to Brussels, especially beer lovers has the name Cantillon on it.

On a Tuesday morning at 11 am the brewery was just waking up to the peak tourist season's rush. A group of visitors had just finished their tour and settling down in a corner to relax over few glasses of Lambic. Besides a few lone visitors here and there, there was a couple who had just paid for their tour and a tour guide escorted them inside. Thankfully my friend is a Belgian beer fanatic and probably knows as much about Cantillon as the staff. We bought our tickets and moved inside. The walls, pillars and ceilings seemed unkempt while the floors and brewing machines, even the hundred year old ones were clean and well maintained in the brewery. As we moved further into the brewing chambers, Jan explained me the story behind Cantillon. Established in the 1900s by the Van Roy-Cantillon family, the brewery still uses the same method, tradition and machines to brew beer. Red copper containers, barrels, some of them more than 100 years old, and walls of bottles (seen just like in wineries or in champagne cellars) constitute the scenery for the visit. Unfortunately, there was no brewing happening when I visited the brewery. The beers were either resting in the barrels or going through fermentation in bottles.

Over the years, with key players consolidating their position and following the footsteps of the scotch industry, Irish whiskey has not only seen ownership battles, but also economic and survival battles too. The boutique distilleries sold to big houses are now thriving on new marketing strategies. The drink has evolved and now presented in a new avatar in many markets.

 

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Vinexpo Asia-Pacific 2014 A dynamic and modern vintage

With Asia Pacific being deemed as one of the most significant markets in the world currently, Vinexpo, the world's premier professional wine and spirits exhibition set new records in terms of number of exhibitors and visitors. Ambrosia magazine, the only publication from India represented the country at Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre from May 27-29, 2014.

Vinexpo Asia-Pacific, the professional wine and spirits exhibition in Asia, broke all records at its sixth show in Hong Kong from 27th to 29th May 2014. Celebrating its 33rd anniversary, Vinexpo staged its 8th show in Asia. The growth of this exhibition continues in 2014 with its sixth event in Hong Kong (and 8th in Asia), returning once again to the cosmopolitan Asian super-city offering a strategic platform and hub for the Asia-Pacific market.

Vinexpo Asia-Pacific represents the global wine industry. All the wine and spirit producing countries and regions including Italy, Spain, Germany, California, New Zealand, Chile, Australia and many others come together in the aisles of the exhibition. The feedback on this exhibition from both visitors and exhibitors was very positive and indicates that Vinexpo Asia-Pacific is leader in its market. Hong Kong is still a privileged entry point for the Chinese market and has clearly been accepted once and for all as a hub in Asia for the wine and spirits industry. "This market is more sophisticated than ever; you could feel it in the business done as well as in the overall atmosphere of the exhibition," explained Vinexpo's Chief Executive Officer, Guillaume Deglise.

 

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The Gin Renaissance Report on London's Recent Gin Symposium

Seldom has there been such a beneficial conference as the Ginposium held by the Gin Guild in London on 3rd June. The Guild is a relatively new international industry organisation aimed at working with Gin distillers, brand owners and others in the industry from around the world to provide focus to the promotion of this exciting category. In consequence, the wide ranging attendance came from large companies down to aspirational distillers and from the press and traders to research communities.

Gin sector in dynamic form
A clear message emerged. Despite the economic constraints in recent years in a number of countries, the premium gin sector is set well with a number of dynamic small enterprises leading the way. Although global consumption of nearly 50 million cases indicates only marginal growth of the category as a whole, the premium and super premium brands have generally marched ahead and provided huge stimulus to the category.

In an introduction to what Gin really is and an explanation of the legal definitions and regulations, Christopher Hayman - the 'Grand Rectifier' of the Guild gave a reminder of the history of the principal players followed by an outline of the many brands and styles. All this pointed to the historic strengths of the category, together with the quality and provenance that the consumer is looking for.

But a focus began to emerge on the extensive innovation now taking place in the sector. As one example, entrepreneur and innovator Mark Gamble from Union Distillers caught the attention with several eye catching statistics. Remarkably, twenty-one micro or craft gin distilleries opened in UK from 2008-2013 with a further fifteen projected for the current year. This compares with around a hundred craft distilleries that have started up in USA in the last 30 years.

 

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